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Everything I Never Told You (2014)

by Celeste Ng

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,4063081,921 (3.89)204
"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"--… (more)
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» See also 204 mentions

English (303)  Piratical (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (305)
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
The story is about a Chinese American family living in a small town in Ohio in the 1970's. Marilyn, the mother, is determined that their oldest daughter, Lydia will become a doctor. When 16 year old Lydia is found drowned in the local lake, each family member deals with heh death differently. The balance of the family is upset. Marilyn cannot accept suicide. Nath, the brother, is certain Lydia was killed. There are many secrets revealed, Issues like prejudice, sibling rivalry, cultural conflict, and marriage are dealt with in a masterful way. ( )
  henrog | Apr 2, 2021 |
I have trouble with books when I don't connect with the characters, and unfortunately, I didn't like any of them. I can understand that during the 70s, the family relationships between parents and children is different from today's perspective. While reading the book, I felt that there were so many times that a conversation between parents, between siblings, between parents and children would have other consequences.
I felt sorry for little Hannah because she was invisible from all of her family. I wanted to pick her up and hug her.
If you like stories that go into great detail about how a character feels, their past, and relationships, then this might be the book for you. Despite the beautiful writing, I didn't believe for a minute that one of these characters was real, and I didn't buy any of the relationships. They all felt like symbols or allegories, almost the way characters in fairy take would. I craved a little more complexity and depth from the family's relationships, and although I couldn't put the book down, I found myself feeling a little "meh" when I was finished. ( )
  AvigailRGRIL | Mar 31, 2021 |
https://www.instagram.com/p/CMqF0wuBkyr/

Celeste Ng - Everything I Never Told You: I’ve read too few 5-star books in my life. This is one of them. Also, that title. 😭 #cursorybookreviews #cursoryreviews ( )
  khage | Mar 20, 2021 |
What a family. What writing

The flow of this author's words was so engaging. I felt as though I knew each member of the family in this story. The sadness and despair that each felt was so palpable. The message leads readers to wonder why it is so difficult to say what we really mean to those we know best. ( )
  LindaLoretz | Mar 15, 2021 |
That ending. I don’t know what else to say I am just...that ending. I feel like it’s missing something even though the rest of the book was amazing. It’s so easy to feel for these characters, so easy to feel their pain and happiness. Celeste Ng does a great job really connecting the reader with the characters. I know that she has some short stories, but I really do look forward to her next book, as I have really enjoyed this one and “Little Fires Everywhere”. ( )
  purple_pisces22 | Mar 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
“Everything I Never Told You” is a beautifully crafted study of dysfunction and grief. Yes, it may miss a few notes, but the ones it does play will resonate with anyone who has ever had a family drama, never mind a gift.
added by ozzer | editBoston Globe, Clea Simon (Jul 1, 2014)
 
Everything I Never Told You," Celeste Ng's excellent first novel about family, love and ambition, opens with a death.....In the end, Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. "Everything I Never Told You" is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together — and that finally end up tearing it apart.
 
Celeste Ng recounts this tragically sad story with sympathy and style and, in its denouement, a real sense of redemption.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ng, Celesteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobeit, BrigitteÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterzon-Kotte, SaskiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for my family
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Lydia is dead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"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"--

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Book description
The daughter of a Chinese American family is found dead, turning the family's lives upside down.
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