Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everythig I Never Told You_“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” And with these two sentences we dive deep into the life of a family, who until this moment do not realize how broken they are.

The Lee’s are a Chinese American family living in a small college town in Ohio. James, who is ethnically Chinese, is a professor of American History and has always realized how different he is and how he stands out.  When he met his wife Marilyn, who is white, he thought he had found a way to blend in and be accepted, but that did not happen as easily as he expected, and now he hopes that his daughter, Lydia will be able to bridge the gap and become popular and accepted.

Marilyn thought that she could have it all. To be married and have a career and do something beyond being a mother and a wife, like her own mother.  Gaining recognition for your intellectual accomplishments rather than your baking was her goal.  But once the children came and interrupted her efforts to become a doctor she had to put her dreams on hold, and eventually abandon them all together. Now she is desperate to make sure that her daughter will not make the same mistakes she did, and she challenges Lydia to excel in all the tough classes that Marilyn loved and excelled at.

Nathan is older and heading for college and is confused by the emphasis in the family on Lydia. Along the way he has been able to be the sounding board that Lydia needed when the pressure grew to great, but now that he is leaving for college he has become resentful that his parents seem so oblivious to him and his own accomplishments and as a consquence ignores Lydia.

Hannah, still in elementary school sees more that anyone realizes, and she may be the only one who knows what really happened to Lydia. As she collects precious things that no one seems to miss, it is she alone who may be able to guide her family back to wholeness.

Part mystery, but mostly a cautionary tale about the harm we do out of love, Ng has caught the essence of the cost of being different, the burden of parental expectations, and the despair of a child who struggles to be what she is not.

Brenda” Rating: ****(4 out of 5 Stars)

Recommend This Book To: Ken, Sharon, and Keith

Book Study Worthy: Absolutely!

Read in ebook format.

This entry was posted in Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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