Thursday, June 9, 2016

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng- Book Review - The Love of a Family is Tested

What happens to our relationships when we project all of our unhappiness, all of our insecurities, and all of our aspirations onto another person - particularly our children? That central question is asked of us again and again while reading Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I really enjoyed reading this book and was blown away by the storytelling!

Synopsis from
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

This book took me a while to read - as a girl who is "all about the library" sometimes due dates get in the way of my reading. Then again, if it takes me two weeks to read a book, I usually just need a break- an "I'm just not that into you" relationship. But after my break, when I was able to return to reading "Everything I Never Told You", I realized just how much the book had really been sitting with me! It was haunting to imagine a family, particularly the children in this family, dealing with all of the issues the book explores. I felt especially connected to Lydia, the female character who dies. She had so much emotional weight that she carried through out the book, and my heart ached to imagine someone in her position.

One of my favorite parts about this book- how much time is spent exploring the internal emotional lives of the characters. It made me feel extremely connected to the them. So, while you HATE the decisions some of them are making, you also understand the decisions because you are so entrenched in what they are thinking.

This book was named Best Book of the Year by a number of outlets- and I completely understand why. Ng wrote a breathtakingly profound story about a family. It is simultaneously relateable and horrifying for its relateability. You can not help but see yourself in these characters, both in their foibles and also in their suffering. I am shocked that this is her first book and I can not wait to read what she writes next!

Have you read "Everything I Never Told You"? Let me know what you thought by commenting below! Thinking about reading the book? Click on the link to the left to find the book at your local library or click below to find it through an affiliate Amazon link.