I bought Everything I Never Told You on impulse when I found it with a good discount on Kindle store. I had added this book to my amazon wishlist sometime last year after reading few good recommendations, but cannot recall why or by whom.
Everything I Never Told You is the story of the Lee family living in Americas in the 1970s -the story of introspection after a tragedy, a story for the reader to understand what went wrong and how this tragedy came into being. The tragedy is the death of 16-year-old Lydia – the eldest daughter of the family who drowned in a lake next to their house.
Mr James Lee is the first generation child of Chinese parents living in America who worked hard to give a good education to their son. His wife Marilyn is an American who aspired to become a doctor, but ended up giving her medical dreams when she became pregnant. Marilyn wishes Lydia to become a successful doctor when she grows up. James wanted Lydia to be popular with lots of friends unlike the lonely life he led due to his ethnicity.Nathan and Hannah are the other two children in the family.
Everything I Never Told You is a beautifully written novel dealing with the subject of mixed race marriages, parental expectations, love between siblings, loneliness etc. The characters of Lydia and Nathan will stay in my thoughts for some time. It left me immensely sad and you feel for them when you finish reading the story. James Lee and Marilyn are two characters towards whom you fail to feel any warmth. The other two important characters that the reader will connect are Hannah and Jack.
It would disappear forever from her memory of Lydia, the way memories of a lost loved one always smooth and simplify themselves, shedding complexities like scales.
Celeste Ng manages to hold the readers’ attention from the start despite the sad subject. Who would actually want to find why a girl died? There cannot be any good reasons for her death. But you are drawn to the family and you get to read about the sad and inner thoughts of each of them and then you realize how things went wrong.
Ever since that summer, she had been so afraid—of losing her mother, of losing her father. And, after a while, the biggest fear of all: of losing Nath, the only one who understood the strange and brittle balance in their family.
Then there are writings like these quotes who tug at your heart and you end up wishing Lydia was alive, got another chance to start again.
I will recommend Everything I Never Told You to all who likes to read family dramas or stories with depth. The characters could have been bit more developed, but the story is quite fast paced that you forget such faults. I could not relax until I found what actually happened. In the end, I had to go back and read the last part again to absorb most of it.