Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You

Book - 2014
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"Lydia is the favorite child of [Chinese Americans] 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 is detstroyed, [forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart]"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9781594205712
159420571X
Characteristics: 297 pages ; 22 cm

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Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee. When her body is found in the local lake, the family balancing act is destroyed.


From the critics


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a
Alpha_zzz
Mar 20, 2021

Family dynamics at play. It was a little difficult for me to get through because there was very little redemptive quality about it. It opened up with unrealized dreams and flaws within the family structure that lead to the dysfunction affecting everyone.
The book left me empty and sort of sad.

a
audreyylui
Mar 18, 2021

The book was a page-turner and I had to refrain from reading more than one chapter a day. Celeste Ng crafted a very tragic story of a seemingly normal family corroding from the secrecy, isolation, and misunderstandings between each flawed member. The book was heartbreaking, direct but also eloquent, and I think the title really embodies the problem of the family. The emotions, tensions, and short-fallings that go unsaid and unexplored resulted in a dysfunctional family that understood each other but could never say it. The parents are trapped by un-materialized dreams and ancestral baggage that seeps into the children, still coming of age, and forced to deal with these pressures in a different way. Made me sad because the solution to their problems seemed like it was right in front of them, to just open up, but those burdens mentioned earlier blinded them. I can surely relate to this struggle of misunderstanding, not from ineptitude to communicate, but personal and internal pressures that sink sincere dialogue and constrain our true feelings.

a
AnnSkye
Mar 16, 2021

This book was an OK read but the author really dragged things out in the last few chapters.

h
heatherbrenner
Mar 03, 2021

Great book! We dove into the world and minds of each family member and the author shifted from each character flawlessly. I liked the true crime aspect of it. It left me wanting to read to the end to find out how she really died. Also the intro is one of my favorites I've read so far. "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." Haunting! There's a word I learned in the sixth grade for a situation just like this, where the reader knows something the characters don't. I'm leaving it at a four because while a captivating book while reading, I think the story is a little forgettable when you are finished. I really enjoyed this though. I thought Hannah's character was really well written. She was so interesting and overlooked -- which I think was the point. She was overlooked in her own family too. Living in the attic, aware of everything that everyone else is doing, but no one really knows what she is doing. She was able to memorize all of the creaks in the house to sneak out. I enjoyed reading her parts the most.

JCLHebahA Feb 04, 2021

Haunting exploration of a family through the lens of the death of middle daughter Lydia. Ng shows all the little cracks beneath the facade that everything is OK through a deft touch and well-chosen details. It isn't just another "suburbia hides quiet suffering" tale, though, with the Lee family the only mixed-race (Chinese-American) family in their town in the 1970s and mother Marilyn struggling with accepting the life she never planned for herself. It's heartbreaking without being bleak, and it's phenomenal as an audio book.

d
Deeya7
Nov 19, 2020

'Everything I Never Told You' is a wonderfully elaborate and multifaceted book that paints the picture of complexities within a Chinese American family that is living during the 1970s. The book begins when the Lee family discovers that their daughter Lydia has been found dead in a lake nearby. The story continues as each member of the family reflects on their past as they each struggle to understand one another. This book not only sheds light on problems that all families face, but it also touches on topics such as racism and parental pressure, as well as the scars that they can leave on a person. Additionally, the characters are all very realistic and relatable. I'm sure everyone will be able to connect to this book in some way.

k
kxyhuang
Nov 16, 2020

In Small-town Ohio, a mixed Chinese-American family meets a terrible fate: the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, Lydia, has been found dead in the local lake. Chaos erupts in the town, and the family is left by themselves to piece together what to do. I could read this story again and again without feeling exhausted because the nuances within each line become more exciting to read each time. The contrasts between the two cultural backgrounds is an ongoing battle in Ng's novel. The sudden death exacerbates how Lydia's siblings view their own roles in the family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the gripping, page-turning storylines in this novel.

o
OaktownMo
Nov 05, 2020

This is not an easy book. But you will be pulled in to the story and the writing. Sad as it is, there is a certain enchantment.

s
sjarrell0
Sep 22, 2020

I flew through this book. Oh the ending actually killed me and I love Nath so much.

i
INVS
Aug 31, 2020

A downloadable audiobook? No clue who reads it, no sample, hmmmmm.:(

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Quotes

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e
elisabeth_23
Apr 30, 2020

“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you--whether because you didn't get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.”

e
elisabeth_23
Apr 30, 2020

“Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”

a
ambdizzle
Aug 23, 2019

A few months later, when they were married, they made a pact: to let the past drift away, to stop asking questions, to look forward from then on, never back.

a
ambdizzle
Aug 23, 2019

He smelled the way velvet felt, something you wanted to run your hands over and then press into your face.

a
ambdizzle
Aug 23, 2019

How good the rain would feel, like crying all over her body.

ellensix Jun 05, 2017

All their lives Nath had understood, better than anyone, the lexicon of their family, the things they could never truly explain to outsiders: that a book or a dress meant more than something to read or something to wear; that attention came with expectations that-- like snow-- drifted and settled and crushed you with their weight.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

What made something precious? Losing it and finding it.

s
shayshortt
Nov 05, 2015

“The famous women had bored her. Their stories were all the same: told they couldn’t; decided to anyway. Because they really wanted to, she wondered, or because they were told not to?”

k
kn1226
Sep 14, 2015

Don’t ever smile if you don’t want to.

Age

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kxyhuang
Nov 16, 2020

kxyhuang thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

e
elisabeth_23
Apr 14, 2020

elisabeth_23 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

brihawkins13 Mar 23, 2018

brihawkins13 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

a
akzfineart
Nov 07, 2015

akzfineart thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

CrypticMidnightShadow thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Summary

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siammarino Jan 15, 2015

The apparent suicide of their daughter Lydia threatens to tear the Lee family apart. As Chinese Americans in a small Ohio town, they already feel marginalized. This is a great novel about minorities, prejudice, and parenting mistakes. Never force your child into the career you wished you had pursued!!

Notices

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Sexual Content: Read with caution. Not suitable for kids AT ALL

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