Everything I never told you

Average Rating: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Everything I never told you
Place Published: 
New York
The Penguin Press
297 pages ; 22 cm
"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. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family-Hannah-who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another"-- Provided by publisher.
Celeste Ng
Reviews for Everything I never told you

Patron reviews

Celeste Ng writes a vivid portrayal of a family going through heartbreak. The characters are amazingly well-rounded, and there are some themes that meshes well together to propel the story all the way to the end. I think this work does an excellent service to American literature in that it bridges the gap between the traditional American society and the modern American society. It's a work of evolution, but, one character, Marilyn, a white woman who wants to be a doctor, seems to evolve toward the conformity of the traditional role that society has set aside for her. Still, Marilyn's choice is her own pretty much as she is the one who determines who she wanted to be with. Also, James, a first-generation Chinese American man, defies the role he has been assigned, and so, when Marilyn and James come together, it's not so much that they do so because "opposites attract," they come together because of the commonality of not wanting to be put into a box. This plagues the Lee family (James and Marilyn have children) as they struggle internally (within themselves and within the family unit) , but it also strengthens their bonds. Outstanding story.