Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review: Everything I Never Told You


I wanted to hate this book. When it arrived, I read the acknowledgements first and the author thanked her agent for having the patience and belief in her to wait six years for the book to be completed. As a writer myself, this is the kind of thing that drives me wild with jealousy. But I'm here to tell you: her agent was right. This book is fantastic.

In Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng follows the Lee family as they deal with the repercussions of their eldest daughter's mysterious death. It's the 1970s and the Lees are the only mixed race family in their community. When high school junior Lydia is found dead, it's unclear how much the isolation of being the only "Oriental" played a part. What does become clear is that her family didn't know her as well as they thought. With an omniscient narrator, the author is able to explore the thoughts and memories of each character so the reader understands everything they knew and everything they never told each other.

Ng's debut is a beautiful exploration of family dynamics and the struggle to know and be known in spite of miscommunication, secrets and silence.

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