Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You

Book - 2015
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"A deep, heartfelt portrait of a family." -- Alexander Chee, The New York Times Book Review

"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

"Wonderfully moving...A beautifully crafted study of dysfunction and grief." -- The Boston Globe
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2015, c2014
ISBN: 9780143127550
Branch Call Number: NG
Characteristics: 296, 8, 4 p. ;,20 cm

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pirate66
Sep 26, 2019

The book is sad, sad, sad. Ng's other book is sad, sad, sad. Hopefully her real life isn't like this. Gosh, Ng needs to lighten up some. I can't imagine how depressed Ng must be when writing her books.

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celiawhite99
Sep 20, 2019

Very good easy read

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ambdizzle
Aug 23, 2019

I highly recommend! Not even two chapters in I remember thinking, ‘This is the most beautiful book.’

The story of a Chinese American family in the 1970s. I found this book sad and depressing - 2 parents with no parenting skills and the children that paid the price.

loonylovesgood Jul 18, 2019

Devastatingly sad, but very well-written. Probably one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read.

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blue_book_169
Jul 11, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. One death has a backstory and the author weaves this into a beautiful and tragic story containing many elements. I'm not really sure how to explain this but I am sure that you will enjoy this read. It has everything you could possibly want in a book. It draws you in and you always want to know what happens next. The ending was slightly confusing though.
I got this as a recommendation from my local library and I must say that the librarians definitely know what is a good book.

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EljayJohnson
Jul 08, 2019

When I first finished this book, I was tempted to give it 1 star because I was so frustrated with the two major characters, the mother and father of the beleagured children in this novel. Then, of course, I realized that my very passion was an indication of just how well-written and affecting this book was. I hesitate to write much because I think it's a difficult book to review without giving away what readers should discover on their own. Suffice to say that my heart was wrung throughout and a better person than I would be forgiving of the parents who acted based on their own disappointments and difficulties, relentless and numbing racial prejudice being amongst them. But how they traumatized each child was what made this book so hard for me, and no, no forgiveness here. Last comment: I loved loved loved Nathan.

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Leslie82
Apr 05, 2019

I love Celeste Ng's writing style. I first read Little Fires Everywhere, and it left such an impression on me - her settings, characters and dialogue just feel so authentic. I feel like the families in Everything I Never Told You could have been my neighbors, as I grew up in Ohio and was a high school student in the late 70's, when this was set. While the story was a little bleak, and the characters at times very unlikeable, I also understood where they were coming from and (mostly) why they acted as they did. I hope she continues to tell her stories.

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bogwolf
Feb 19, 2019

This book is a character study from a mixed race family in Ohio in the 70s. It starts with a trauma and then bounces back and forth - flashbacks to let us know more about the characters & forward momentum, such as it is, to show how the family deals with the trauma.

Much of the specificity of the setting is excellent, feels lived in and alive. And the hurts that the characters bear, often owing to that time and place feel real too. The characters themselves, perhaps less so. I believed in the place but not always in the people who behaved in ways that were always justifiable based on the text, but sometimes felt like they were taking the actions that would move the story the way the author wished.

Or perhaps my reaction is to a book where all of the characters feel trapped somehow. These are characters who dream of freedom but are bound in the chains of society and their own making. Having a cast who doesn't really believe in their own power can be frustrating to me. But perhaps, accidentally, Ng is suggesting that we don't have freedom, that it is an illusion; I suspect she'd rather say that this book reminds us how precious our freedom is, but there is little here to support that. All attempts at influence end in failure, pretty much.

3 and a half stars rounded up since I was caught up in the lives of these characters enough to read swiftly.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Feb 18, 2019

Celeste Ng is really good at thought provoking family dramas...and at how our identities impact even our closest relationships.

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Quotes

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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?”

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kn1226
Sep 14, 2015

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

Age Suitability

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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!!

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

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