“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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Equal parts engrossing crime mystery and poignant family drama, Celeste Ng’s debut novel stirs questions around race, gender, and the struggle to fit in. Lydia—the favorite child of the mixed-race Lee family—goes missing. Her parents believed their daughter was a bright and happy teenager, but when the police start asking questions, they start to question whether they knew her at all. As Ng explores the inner lives of each family member and the secrets they’ve kept for years, she creates a story that’s heartbreaking, riveting, and astonishingly true to life.
This emotionally involving debut novel explores themes of belonging using the story of the death of a teenage girl, Lydia, from a mixed-race family in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the middle and favorite child of Marilyn Walker, a white Virginian, and James Lee, a first-generation Chinese-American. Marilyn and James meet in 1957, when she is a premed at Radcliffe and he, a graduate student, is teaching one of her classes. The two fall in love and marry, over the objections of Marilyn's mother, whose comment on their interracial relationship is succinct: "It's not right." Marilyn gets pregnant and gives up her dream of becoming a doctor, devoting her life instead to raising Lydia and the couple's other two children, Nathan and Hannah. Then Marilyn abruptly moves out of their suburban Ohio home to go back to school, only to return before long. When Lydia is discovered dead in a nearby lake, the family begins to fall apart. As the police try to decipher the mystery of Lydia's death, her family realize that they didn't know her at all. Lydia is remarkably imagined, her unhappy teenage life crafted without an ounce of clich . Ng's prose is precise and sensitive, her characters richly drawn.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I truly loved this book. It's an easy read, yet provides a ton to think about and process. I couldn't put it down, and I didn't want to! Can't wait to read another of her books.
Everything I Never Told You Review
A tender gripping novel which was impossible to put down.
The reader gets an acute intimate understanding of each character
that will remain with them long after they have finished last chapter.
I didn't want it to end. Thank you for giving me such a gift.
Everything I never told you
One of the best books I've read in awhile. She allowed you to understand each character, to get in each of their heads and feel how they got to this point in their lives. Read it all in one day!!