Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You

Large Print - 2014
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Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue-in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family-Hannah-who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.
Publisher: Waterville, ME :, Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning,, 2014
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410472458
Branch Call Number: LP NG
Characteristics: 383 pages (large print) ; 23 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

In 1970s small-town Ohio, sixteen-year-old Lydia Lee is found drowned in a nearby lake. As her mixed-race Chinese American family tries to find answers to their perfect daughter’s mysterious death, long hidden secrets, dreams, insecurities, and betrayals begin to surface and threaten to tear the ... Read More »

In 1970s small-town Ohio, 16-year-old Lydia Lee is found drowned in a nearby lake. As her mixed-race Chinese American family tries to find answers to their perfect daughter’s mysterious death, long hidden secrets, dreams, insecurities, and betrayals begin to surface and threaten to tear the fami... Read More »


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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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Blabbermouth
Feb 11, 2019

I did like this sad sad tale of a family in turmoil. A bleak story. I love the first two sentences.. Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.
A mixed-race family that has to come to terms with Lydia's death. It starts with Lydia's death & then flicks from present day grief to paths travelled in the past that led to this present day mishap.
What deep insight the author has into the grieving family & also Lydia herself. Lydia leaves a mother, father, brother & younger sister, who have to find their way through the pain & mistakes.

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gsrossie
Jan 19, 2019

I didn’t enjoy this story or the pace of it. It went on too long.

i
isora1994
Oct 25, 2018

This one really hits hard. I read Little Fires Everywhere before this which was more about motherhood and focused on female characters and their definition of fulfillment and satisfaction. This novel is a character study of a young woman with high aspirations cut short by life's unexpected turn, a man who never fit into the society, a daughter who was choked with selfish love and expectations, an ignored and frustrated son and a daughter who was a wallflower while everything took place. This book was quite hard to read and I recommend it if you are looking for drama and understanding of the immigrant life from an internal perspective.

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Inga57
Oct 02, 2018

Mixed marriage, children of said marriage, high expectations, misunderstandings, infidelity, murder or suicide ... accidental drowning? Surviving the loss of a child. Fast read leaving questions for oneself to ponder.

I read this book a second time in 2018, three years after reading it the first time. I enjoyed Celeste Ng's debut more the second time around and found myself highlighting much of the authors work. Well done!

Engaging Downtowner's book group discussion.

While at times the characters were stereotypical in their roles within the nuclear family, I felt deeply for the characters--even if I didn't always connect with them or find them believable. Sometimes the mother and father were a little too one dimensional in their obsession with Lydia and her success. I found Ng's way of intertwining the characters internal dialogue difficult to understand at first, but as I read, I found it an effective way of examining the disparity between the characters interpretation of a situation. I wish we could have gotten more of Lydia's internal thoughts, they are, after all, the crux of the storyline.

Overall, a great novel and well-written. I highly recommend.

KatieD_KCMO Sep 28, 2018

While at times the characters were stereotypical in their roles within the nuclear family, I felt deeply for the characters--even if I didn't always connect with them or find them believable. Sometimes the mother and father were a little too one dimensional in their obsession with Lydia and her success. I found Ng's way of intertwining the characters internal dialogue difficult to understand at first, but as I read, I found it an effective way of examining the disparity between the characters interpretation of a situation. I wish we could have gotten more of Lydia's internal thoughts, they are, after all, the crux of the storyline.

Overall, a great novel and well-written. I highly recommend.

TSCPL_Miranda Aug 05, 2018

A powerful, painful exploration of identity, belonging, and family. I'm so glad that I read this book, though I felt real pain for every character in the book. A sunlit ending, lovely poetic prose, and a memorable story.

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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?”

k
kn1226
Sep 14, 2015

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

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brihawkins13 Mar 23, 2018

brihawkins13 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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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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