Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


Lydia is dead, but no one besides the reader is aware of this at the beginning of the story.  Slowly, as the story unfolds, her life and death is deconstructed and the reader is gradually, almost painfully, let in to the lives of Lydia and her repressed family, and it is understood how Lydia has died.

This well-written but bitterly sad story is probably well worth reading, but it is not easy.  Each of the characters is depicted carefully and thoroughly and there is a psychological depth that makes the characters quite authentic.  There are race issues and longing for acceptance that is very human and almost any reader can relate to this.

What is almost overwhelmingly sad in this book however, is the profound absence of communication between the family members and this is what I find so troubling about this book.  I am not accustomed to this ( there is probably an over-communication issue in my family!) so it was a little extreme/unrealistic in my mind.  I am sure, though, that there are a great many families that have this blockage in communication, whether for cultural or psychological or whatever reason, and this is both scary and tragic for me.  There are so many moments that could have prevented the death of Lydia (and I’m sure in real life, real tragedies) just if there was better communication.  I think this is the take-home message…

So while depressing and tragic, it is a well-written book with a lot to teach us.

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