Author- Celeste Ng
Plot-Everything I Never Told You is the story of the Lees, a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. This is Celeste Ng’s debut thriller and she aces the genre. I think she did a pretty good job without all the gore.
My Take– A family under crises when they find out their favourite daughter had been missing from home. And suddenly they found her in the lake close to their house. Their world is shattered. The Chinese american family lives in this very ‘white’ community where their children are never treated the same as others, Racism and loneliness from the society because their parents hardly interact with anyone makes this family weird and dull. A mother who wants to live her goals through her daughter and ignores her other two children dream. A father who is frustrated because he has not bagged the job of the century and thus creates a lot of problems and neglect in the family. The happy friendly girl Lydia is actually not what you thought she would be. And that is what the book talks about. In detail. It gets dragged along when you get no clue about her suicidal intentions and this makes the reader a little frustrated too. But the plot is promising and you will still want to finish the book.
James, the father is still plagued by the memories of his parents who did everything to make him what he is today but he deliberately picks up the American accent and never speaks Chinese again. Marilyn who wanted to become a doctor never archives her dream, only to fall for James in her students years. Her mother’s voice still mocking her that she could never be happy with him.
Hannah is a lonely and the most neglected member of the family who is just there. Will she find her place in the family now that her elder sister was gone? It is most heartbreaking to see her linger around, seeing that no one actually needed her presence.
Nathan just imposes himself. He knows what he wants to become- An astronaut and he achieves his dream. Yet there is something fishy about his anger towards Jack and why he was seeing Lydia behind his back.
What should you look for?
It’s true that parents also have feelings, goals and want to achieve a lot in life. But children are no way responsible for their failures. It’s absolutely their choice to have one. So, when you go through the feelings of the mother, you get into a mundane world of a woman who could have been so much more if only her husband supported her. The underlying relationships of other secondary characters like Nathan and Jack and that truly is the sweetest thing you had ever experienced. What seems like a threat actually comes out like a boon.
What’s dull about the book?
It drags. You have a little suspicion that this book is never going to end. But it does and in a good way.