Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

“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.

Received for review

This was one of those books that I had a love/hate relationship with.  I frankly didn't like the characters but the story was just so well written that I couldn't keep myself from continuing to read it.

I really, really, really did not like the author's portrayal of white people as prejudiced.  Every since white person in the book was prejudiced and hated everyone who wasn't middle class and white.  And, from reading the author interview at the back of the book, she really does feel this way.  Ironically she has no issues making sweeping generalizations about white people in general but she's not prejudiced at all.  Of course not.  Because only white people can be prejudiced.

In any case, the story was truly interesting and reminded me a bit of The Lovely Bones.  It really makes you think about what you do and do not say to your loved ones.  There are so many things that we all talk about every day but some things that should be said go unsaid for various reasons and this is a really rather touching look into those things and how they affect our relationships.

Overall, while I am not fond of the author's personal beliefs about race and despite my genuine dislike of the characters I found this surprisingly readable.  It was very well written and the pages just flew past.  It was an interesting story with a well crafted resolution and I certainly recommend it (with the caveat that you might be disturbed by the author's blatant dislike of all white people).

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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