Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Big Reads: Everything I Never Told You

All aboard the feels train for Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet..."
Not a spoiler - It's the first line in this novel about a Chinese American family in Southern Ohio in the 70s. The narrative jumps between each member of the Lee family both before and after Lydia's death.

Each character had such a sad story that they kept inside them and wouldn't/couldn't share with each other.

Lydia's mother, Marilyn, who desperately wants to give Lydia everything that she gave up. Her father, James, who more than anything wants Lydia to have the friends he never had growing up. Her brother, Nath, who is the only one who understands what it's like. And her sister, Hannah, the little afterthought who is invisible to everyone in the family.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot, because it builds so beautifully through the back and forth timeline with Lydia's death being point the story orbits around. The writing is exquisite; there were several phrases that I had to just stop and reflect on. Lines like:
“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you--whether because you didn't get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.” 
“He pushed her in. And then he pulled her out. All her life, Lydia would remember one thing. All his life, Nath would remember another.” 
“How had it begun? Like everything: with mothers and fathers. Because of Lydia’s mother and father, because of her mother’s and father’s mothers and fathers.”   
And so so so many others that I desperately want to share with you, but I want you to read it for yourself. This novel was tragic and beautiful and hopeful and, honestly, just gave me so many feelings that I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished it. Pick it up. Read it. Feel crushed, yet hopeful by it. Then come back and tell me what you think.

This was July's selection for the Mother Daughter Book club, and my mama did an awesome job with this pick. And it's her birthday today. Happy Birthday Mama!

Have you read it? What books have stayed with you long after you finished them?


  1. I read this in late May and loved it so much. Like you I had all the feels, especially as the mom to a teenage daughter.

    1. I don't have a teenage daughter yet; mine is only three. I can only imagine how many more feels you had! So glad we've connected on instagram and thanks so much for commenting! :-)