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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You (original 2014; edition 2015)

by Celeste Ng (Author)

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3,5202622,341 (3.89)176
"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)
Title:Everything I Never Told You
Authors:Celeste Ng (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2015), Edition: Reprint, 297 pages
Collections:Your library

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014)

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English (258)  Piratical (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (260)
Showing 1-5 of 258 (next | show all)
A story about a Chinese professor married to an American woman who wanted to be a scientist and their 3 children. I read it because it was the book for the "One City One Book" celebration. The book was OK and kept my interest, but I have one main issue with the book. It seemed as though everyone in the book were prejudiced and were basically bad people who treated the family poorly. It would have been better if there was a more varied reaction to the family. I think my son summed up the problem even better. He said that it seemed like everyone in the family was going through a midlife crisis. It wasn't a bad book and I did enjoy it, but I didn't love it and I would never recommend it to people. ( )
  KamGeb | Oct 25, 2019 |
This was a great story - lively and eventful if ultimately sad. The author has an impressive, brisk narrative style; she knows how to keep the reader interested. I kept having to reassure myself that this was set in the 1970s - I really hope the sort of things that happened in the novel don’t still happen today. ( )
  jayne_charles | Oct 13, 2019 |
This review can also be found on my blog.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this, but I found myself hooked within the first fifty pages. This is the quietly beautiful examination of a family as they struggle with the loss of one of their children. The middle child of an interracial couple, Lydia is the dream girl, everything her parents couldn’t be. Losing her finally upsets a balance that had no business continuing as long as it did, and the family must come to terms with what they’ll discover, or risk losing everything.

At its core, this is really the story of secrets gone wrong. There are so many tipping points at which, had the characters chosen to act differently, a divergent outcome could have been triggered. James, the father, has rejected his background as the child of Chinese immigrants, wanting nothing more than to fit in. Marilyn, the mother, regrets allowing motherhood to overtake her dreams of medical school. Nath, the oldest son, feels unloved and forgotten. Lydia is pressured by both her parents to fit in and to succeed where they could not. Hannah, the youngest daughter, watches quietly from the background and notices what the others are too preoccupied to notice.

There is so much that is deeply explored here, and it is difficult to point fingers and place blame. One must come to terms with the fact that everyone in this book has made mistakes, and that their silence has come at a cost. Each of the characters is deeply sympathetic in their own ways and all of their stories are equally important. Don’t come into this book expecting an exciting thriller, because the who of Lydia’s death is less important than the why, and what will happen afterward. ( )
  samesfoley | Sep 28, 2019 |
Captures the complicated dynamics of mixed race/culture families. Ng understands the mind of immigrant children and their children and their hopes and dreams, either fulfilled or broken. Highly recommend. ( )
  Reyesk9 | Sep 23, 2019 |
A sad story but with many themes that are so relatable. Not fitting in and wanting to blend in. Having dreams that remain unachieved, the bitterness that comes with that and placing those dreams on to others. Impressionable children wanting to please their parents, not knowing what they truly want for themselves and the pressures that come from it. How the weight and stress of parental expectations crushes a child's ability to naturally flourish in their surroundings and with their peers. ( )
  preetibee | Aug 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 258 (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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The daughter of a Chinese American family is found dead, turning the family's lives upside down.
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