“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Author: Celeste Ng
Format: Paperback – 292 Pages
Publisher: Penguin Books
Firstly, this was quite an ‘impulse buy’. I’d seen this book in the store a few times and didn’t pick it up, but this time I decided to as part of an offer with another book.
I didn’t have really high expectations of this book as I wasn’t that interested before I started it. However, once I did start, I was hooked!
I loved the fact that the book didn’t focus just on what happened either before or after Lydia’s death, it showed both views. It also didn’t look at everything from Lydia’s point of view which made it a lot better.
I loved the character development throughout – especially the actual development based on time progression, if that makes sense? Getting to see Marilyn and James when they were younger was very interesting as it showed more to their personality and their views/life before they had children.
It frustrated me a bit where Marilyn didn’t see the fact that Lydia wasn’t that excited about doing physics, especially when her grades were slipping a bit. I feel like at no point did she sit down and think “is this what my daughter wants? Or is this just what I want and my daughter is accepting it?”, because I feel like it was quite obvious throughout that she wasn’t very enthusiastic about it.
I’d definitely recommend this book as it was captivating and I honestly couldn’t stop reading it.