Everything I Never Told You, written by Celeste Ng, is perhaps one of the best books I’ve read all year. It’s the story of a Chinese American family and their struggles after the death of their daughter, Lydia. It also explores the lives of both parents, James and Marilyn Lee, who’ve lived surrounded by prejudice, limitations and unfulfilled dreams; James because of his race, and Marilyn because of her gender. In the middle of all that mess are their three children, Nath, Lydia and Hannah.
The story shows the ways in which families are damaged. It deals with all the hopes and expectations that we sometimes put on others; all the ignorance and blindness that prevent us from realizing the truth that lies underneath a smile; and the importance of all the things that we leave unsaid.
“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.”
While reading this book I was able to feel what the characters felt, to long for the things they longed for, and I constantly found myself wishing to be able to jump into the story and fix everything. I guess you could say that I stopped being the reader and became a witness to the story.
Everything I never Told You is one of those rare books where everything the characters do or think reflects the title; the phrase permeates throughout every single page.
It’s a beautifully written book and, although it may seem slow-paced sometimes, it’s a relatively quick read. Definitely recommended for virtually anyone who enjoys a good story.