Everything About the Book I’ll Tell You

everything i've never told youLia Horyczun ’16
EE Managing Editor

Everything I Never Told You
By Celeste Ng
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Can you imagine the calm before the storm?
The stable feelings before it comes crashing?
The clarity in life before it all changes?

Lydia Lee’s family can. Marilyn and James Lee’s perfect child is dead. And they do not know it yet. As a family, you think you know everyone better than anyone else ever could. You think you know the dreams and desires. Wrong. Very much wrong in the case of the Lees. The timeline skips from the past to the present revealing small subtle histories of each family member. The Lees gradually realize they do not know anything about each other. Set in the 70s, a Chinese-American family battle their secrets unraveling as the investigation of Lydia’s death progresses. Lydia is not who the Lees thought she was, happy, popular, and succeeding in life.

Lydia’s father, James, is Chinese. When he was younger, he experienced racism which stayed with him even to present day. All he ever wanted to do was fit in. He eventually meets his wife Marilyn and they give birth to Lydia’s brother, Nathan, Lydia, and her sister Hannah. James’s desire to fit in was passed on to Lydia. He wants Lydia to be popular and have plenty of friends. Moreover, he wants her to find acceptance.

Marilyn, Lydia’s mother, has always wanted to be set apart. Different. Younger. Marilyn was working hard to be a doctor in the tough prevailing dominant world of men. However, she fails and passes on her desires to Lydia. Marilyn indirectly expressed her desire that Lydia succeed in being a doctor by reading science books and pushing her very hard in school.

Nathan, Lydia’s older brother, has spent his life always being second to Lydia. Finally, he is going off to college and starting his new life. Meanwhile, Hannah, the youngest daughter of the Lees, is almost invisible. She and Nathan long ago learned to accept being second to Lydia, the blue-eyed favorite daughter.

Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You was released on June 26, 2014. Ng has captured the unraveling tension bubbling in a well-developed, complex, family trying to fit into a community as well as the consequences of burdensome expectations. This book is geared towards audiences who love a heart-wrenching and suspenseful story.

“Ng has set two tasks in this novel’s doubled heart—to be exciting, and to tell a story bigger than whatever is behind the crime.”

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