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

by Celeste Ng (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,7333191,784 (3.89)206
"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)
Member:angelinahue
Title:Everything I Never Told You
Authors:Celeste Ng (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2015), Edition: Reprint, 297 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014)

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» See also 206 mentions

English (315)  Piratical (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (317)
Showing 1-5 of 315 (next | show all)
Tender, careful, tense, and tragic. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
Well written. Detailed emotional and psychological motions of a mixed parent's family in an era where such unity is still unheard of and many will view them with distaste, even abhor such marriage. Their struggle of being accepted and chasing a dream have been passed on to their kids which will slowly but surely part them instead. These traits are normal particularly in Asian families. I truly empathise with Nathan, Lydia and Hannah. A book with lots of religion and human values to ponder on. ( )
  Sholee | Sep 9, 2021 |
It took 200 pages to get to char siu bao, the first and only Chinese used in a book about a mixed family. Were the children not curious about their grandparents? Not a red envelope in sight? No Chinese cuss words that children always gravitate towards, simply because they were forbidden? I didn't grow up mixed, so maybe that's just how it was.

I think this book was effective in portraying the family, but not as lean as it could be. There seemed to be redundant clauses and unnecessary descriptions. I'm not sure, given the time frame, that Lydia's somewhat mild reaction to Jack near the end was realistic for attitudes at that time. I do not think the themes of assimilation, and trying to shed one's Chineseness, of gender expectations, and trying to pursue male-dominated science, really needs the 1970s. And why are random presidential facts thrown in every once in a while, to remind us that it was back then and not now? Maybe Ng's point was that these themes are ongoing and we will forget what decade it is. But it feels a bit forced.

The academic struggle is real. I know people with parents like that, even if mine were chill. Liked the book. It's worth a (quick) read. ( )
  tonberrysc | Aug 20, 2021 |
I don't even know where to begin.

This has to be one of the most honest, real novels I have read in a long time. The exploration of parents as flawed people, just like us, the feeling of duty to please that children have, the way that delusions can become so real and so necessary to survive. Every character in this novel was fleshed out, important, and it was impossible not to empathise.

Celeste Ng has easily become an auto-buy author for me. The writing is consistent, prose is beautifully paced, nothing overdone or left undone. Excellent read, and I highly recommend it. ( )
  SarahRita | Aug 11, 2021 |
Well written but not my cup of tea. If you enjoy family problem novels where characters don't talk to each other about what's happening emotionally or have any friends to discuss anything with then you may enjoy it. My mother enjoys those books so I know there's a market for it. Reminded me of Ordinary People from back in the day.
Well constructed, definitely pulled me through and I wanted to find out how Lydia arrived at her fate. Well deployed time setting details. The only anachronism I noted was Jack's condoms - in the late 70s condoms were still a shameful/thrilling/punchline item.
Generations of no friends. I didn't like any of these characters. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 315 (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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The daughter of a Chinese American family is found dead, turning the family's lives upside down.
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