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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My Not-so Perfect life – Book review

I’m a big fan of Sophie Kinsella and I’ve read ALL of her books! I love her writing style because its easy, fluff, fun and lighthearted.

Book Blurb

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.
Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

My thoughts:

I was expecting something like Can you keep a secret and Shopaholic where the female protagonist is clumsy, dumb and prone to making silly mistakes (I like both those books, still). But this book was different and should receive credit for the fact that Kate Brenner is bright and ambitious. I’ll let you know why :

  • You can totally relate to her, she is just like us, a small town girl who comes to the city chasing her dreams , trying to fit in, trying to live the ‘perfect’ city life. I’ve been there and I know how it is to survive in a city.
  • When Kate (or Cat, as she calls herself in the city) posts Instagram pictures of food she doesn’t eat or places she hasn’t visited but still want to project a perfect life to her best friends and family, I wasn’t the least bit bored or found it ridiculous. Because, we’ve all been there. We know how social media pressure works out for us and the need to compete, show off and fit in become the primary goals.
  • Cat doesn’t let her Dad (single parent) know how much she is struggling for a breakthrough in her career and paints a false picture to him that she is the most irreplaceable person in her company. Because her father, one of the most sweetest person in this book, is worried about the big bad city and just cannot understand what’s wrong with staying with him
  • Demeter, the boss from hell -insensitive and a nightmare to her employees. She has the perfecttt life that Cat dreams of – the dream job, handsome husband, big house, fancy car and cute kids and designer clothes. Her characterization throughout the book is brilliant. From being portrayed as the most horrible boss or later in the book as a person with “hung ups and problems and flaws like the rest of us”, she is brilliant.
  • I did for a moment think that after Alex, the partner’s son who is also ‘brilliant, smart, full of wit and charm’ asks Cat on an impromptu discussion, it was going to be something similar to ‘Can you keep a Secret’. But no, God, no, this book is ruled only by women and there’s no big part for Alex. That’s when i started liking it even more. Because how many books have we seen this storyline where the office girl marries off the boss and that’s it her career is thrown down the path with happily ever after. This book is about how Katie gets her perfect, not so perfect life on her own.
  • The sweet revenge that Katie gets to have on Demeter is just so much fun. How we wish we can do that to our bosses.!!! 😉

I can go on and on about this book, but 2 simple words – Perfectly done!

My review will be 5/5. Even if i’m not a Kinsella fan, i would have gone with 4.5/5. The extra 0.5 is for me being her ardent fan and that she never disappoints. (Except the last shopaholic book, i like all of her works :D)

You can get the book from Amazon.in. The review is in there as well as Goodreads 🙂

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Every time you see someone’s bright-and-shiny, remember: They have their own crappy truths too. Of course they do. And every time you see your own crappy truth and feel despair and think, ‘Is this my life?’, remember: It’s not. Everyone’s got a bright-and-shiny, even if it’s hard to find sometimes.

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Trust

He could say she was nervous. He wanted to ease out those creases forming in her forehead.

She looked up and noticed the amused look on his face.

You idiot, she wanted to say. Her mind was thinking of various ways to get back at him.

You will pay for this, she smirked.

“I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a mom”, she blurted out. His lips curved into a smile.

“You haven’t checked it yet. Or have you? “.

Her ‘no’ came rather quick and she bit her lip. “I’m scared to find out”.

He moved to her corner of the bed, and reached out to her. She needed this. His arms took her in and she leaned onto him.

“You will make a great mom and it’s something that I know just like things we believe not just because of an instinct or blind faith. It’s like how  we trust in a greater being. Not forced, but natural..”

“Trust you to make everything look easy”, she chided. Though not completely convinced that she will be SuperMom some day, the warmth of his smile was contagious and she beamed.


P.S First attempt at fiction 🙈🙈

image source here .