A brilliantly written story of a mixed-race family struggling to belong.
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . .So begins the story of a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee. 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 is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
“Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.“
EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU is a moving story of family dynamics. It’s a mixed-race family struggling with who they are and where they belong. It is the story of husband and wife who are unfulfilled both personally and professionally, and want so much more than that for their children. But it also about the secrets that family members keep, and the impact that has.
It’s a heart-wrenching story of the loss of a daughter and sister, and the mystery behind her death, as well as her life. The mystery of Lydia’s death is uncovered slowly, and interspersed we find the backstory of Marlyn and James relationship and the pressure they place on their daughter. Lydia’s older brother Nate, and her younger sister, Hannah play pivotal roles in this family saga.
Celeste Ng’s characters are sublime and I was utterly captivated by Hannah. Ng’s writing is brilliant and reveals the impact parental expectations can have on a family. It is a compelling read, one that should not be missed.
Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned her MFA from the University of Michigan. Everything I Never Told You (2014) was her debut novel. It was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the ALA Alex award. Most recently she published Little Fires Everywhere (2017). I listened to the Audible version of Everything I Never Told You and found the narration engaging.
“What made something precious? Losing it and finding it.”
Publisher Penguin Audiobooks
Published June 26, 2014
Narrated Cassandra Campbell