Everything I never Told You – Book Review

Author : Celeste Ng

Publisher : Blackfriars

Pub Date: November 13th 2014

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 

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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.

My Thoughts

The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you.

This book is by far the best I have read in recent times. Its absolutely stunning and tugs your heart at all the right places.

1970’s ~ The plot

How much do we know about Interracial marriages in the ’60’s, 70’s. How ‘different’ are the inter-racial kids treated.. The judgmental eyes of people who cannot look beyond the color of skin, the inferiority complex that’s deep set within the children born for interracial parents or even immigrant parents. This book deals with all of that and more – The expectations set on kids by parents who failed to succeed and trying to enforce their dreams on them, the way the kids are obliged to follow on the path set before them and how not keeping up to the expectations leads to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Above all this, the one thing that made this book unforgettable for me is.. the struggle of the last child in the family. Being ignored and unwanted, silently observing the happenings and obviously having a better understanding of all things, craving for the littlest amount of attention. I just wish this book had been told from the perspective of Hannah.

And even when she got older, now and then each of them would forget fleetingly, that she existed — as when Marilyn, laying four plates for dinner one night, did not realize her omission until Hannah reached the table. Hannah, as if she understood her place in the cosmos, grew from quiet infant to watchful child: a child fond of nooks and corners, who curled up in closets, behind sofas, under dangling tablecloths, staying out of sight as well as out of mind, to ensure the terrain of the family did not change.

Tragedy told differently

Be it the mother who lost her favorite daughter who was supposed to fulfill her dream of becoming a medico, or the father who felt that she would be the kid who really had a ‘social’ life and does things that ‘everyone does’ unlike him, or the brother who is guilty of ignoring the sister who is the center of attraction in the family or my favorite, Hannah, everyone deals with the tragedy of losing Lydia differently. And it cannot be more beautifully emotionally portrayed than this.

This book is wonderfully written, that I never felt like I was being pushed to read about race or PoC. The writing is both subtle and strong. Like it hits the nail at the correct spot but slowly.

What made something precious? Losing it and finding it

I give 5 stars in spite of the tears, Because of the tears..

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