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UnavailableEverything I Never Told You
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Everything I Never Told You


Currently unavailable on Scribd

Everything I Never Told You

ratings:
3.5/5 (703 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Released:
Jun 26, 2014
ISBN:
9781482994650
Format:
Audiobook

Editor's Note

Heartbreaking & hopeful...

Both heartbreaking & hopeful, the novel centers on the Lees, a biracial, well-educated family in the 1970s residing in a small town in Ohio. Ng reveals an intimate portrait of a family in the midst of unraveling.

Description

A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

"Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet"…So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. 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’ 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 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. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives,to understand one another.
Released:
Jun 26, 2014
ISBN:
9781482994650
Format:
Audiobook


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3.3
703 ratings / 181 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Parents Marilyn and James are both damaged and project their dreams onto one of their daughters. Marilyn, raised in the 50s by her single home economics teaching mother wants to be a doctor. Her mother wants her to meet “a nice Harvard man”. James the child of immigrant Chinese parents who work as janitor and lunch lady at his private school wNts nothing more than to fit in- he doesn’t. Marilyn and James get married when she gets pregnant. She drops out of school and James takes a teaching position in an Ohio college. They project their dreams on to the daughter Lydia, largely ignoring the other two children. When Lydia dies under mysterious circumstances the family falls apart.
  • (3/5)
    I was on the waitlist for this book for several months, and was excited to finally get my hands on it. I usually find that things surrounded by a lot of hype are never as good as they sound, but I really enjoyed this book and finished it quickly, so I have to say that it was good, but trying to write a review even a few days later… I can’t remember anything but the general idea of the story. It was worth the read, but it wasn’t earth-shattering or something I would re-read often. I did really love Ng’s writing style though, and want to read more by her.
  • (3/5)
    I read this one because it has been chosen as a group read by 21st Century Literature on GoodReads. I don't want to be too harsh on this, but ultimately I felt that this book was less than the sum of its parts. It doesn't help that the American slightly dysfunctional family story is such a familiar one. The first part of this book is the best, particularly the parts that tell the story of the Chinese community in America and their difficulties dealing with prejudice, misunderstanding and racism. The book starts dramatically with what at face value is its most tragic element, the disappearance and death of a teenage girl, but the overall tone is relentlessly bleak and depressing, as all of the characters feel unable to live up to each other's expectations or express more than a small part of what they are hiding from one another, and the ending with its inevitable redemption feels false and difficult to believe. This is a shame because the characters are well drawn and it is largely well-written, but in the end it didn't quite convince me and left me feeling manipulated.
  • (5/5)
    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is an absorbing read opening with the lines "Lydia is dead. But they don't know it yet."Centering on a Chinese American family living in a small Ohio college town in the 1970s, Ng strips away the facade and reveals that we may keep our fears and painful past to ourselves, but they play out in our acts and desires, hurting not only ourselves but our children.Well deserved New York Times Notable Book and bestseller. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    This was a beautifully written, emotional book looking at one family's struggles. Lydia is the most loved child and sister in a mixed race family in the 1970's. She struggles to please everyone as they struggle to please her. The book begins with Lydia's death. The story weaves back and forth between their family life before Marilyn and James married through the days after Lydia's death. The family dynamic and struggles living as a mixed family are presented. The family's grief is palpable following her death.
  • (5/5)
    I'm 74% done with Everything I Never Told: Definitely not the nicest people but boy are they human. So annoying but I am enjoying this book. — Mar 30, 2015 09:48AM

    Update April 1 2015

    Yes I really enjoyed this read. It is funny because if there is one thing I can't stand is with for instance chick lit books that the main character totally gets something the wrong way and because of that : thinks he does not love her and then keeps on making the same mistake and destroys her own life,marry someone else blablabla. all because they do not talk about their feelings.



    Well this book is a bit like that but not annoying in the slightest because it feels quite natural.

    The husband always thinking he is not good enough because he is not white and he stands out.
    The wife always wanted more of life than just be a housewife.

    Because of that the 2 above will destroy their children's lives.

    Very interesting but thinking about it I can see why a child wants to be very nice to mum so she will not leave them again but I do not think any child could keep that charade on for so many years. Especially when they become teenagers.

    It was so hard to read about how they treated their son but so good as well because parents can make those mistakes and can have those feelings. Feelings they should not have but sometimes pop up. Like not liking your child for one moment. I could understand more about that then constantly loving one and ignoring the other.

    Anyway. I really loved reading this book and I like that it makes you think.

    Only thing I wish was what happened with Jack. Come on. I know a lot of readers want a perfect ending (One author even changed her ending because so many people were angry about it but they were teens. (I still think she should not have changed it. Teens should and will learn one day that life is not all perfect. I prefer natural endings much more. Endings where you can see thee story go in a real world.

    That is the only negative I can say about this book. Great read. 4.5

  • (4/5)
    For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.As I’ve been looking back over this year’s reading, I’ve found how few adult novels charmed me. Sometimes I find myself wondering if maybe young adult fiction is all that works for me anymore. Then I pick up a book like Everything I Never Told You. Celeste Ng’s debut is quiet, emotional, and heartbreaking, the story of a family’s unraveling.Everything I Never Told You seems from the blurb to be a simple mystery, the unwinding of how Lydia, beloved daughter of the Lee’s, perished. From the very first sentence, it becomes obvious that there’s more going on in Everything I Never Told You. The first two lines are “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” This reveals that Everything I Never Told You has the no-longer-common omniscient narrator. The narrator drops hints of the future and knows what’s going on within the character’s hearts, even when they themselves do not understand.The death of Lydia both is and is not at the center of the story. Her death is the focal point, the catalyst for the breaking, but the book is actually more about her family. It’s not even primarily about the way that they deal with the grief of losing Lydia, though that’s certainly a part of it too. Everything I Never Told You primarily deals with the way people’s expectations of one another can poison relationships.Central to this are the parents, James and Marilyn Lee. The two fell in love when he was the graduate student teaching her course, which she summarily dropped so that they could date. They are, at heart, seeking completely opposite things. Marilyn dreams of being a doctor; she wants to be different and surpass those around her, but ends up a housewife like her mother before her. James, Chinese, has never felt like he fit in among the white faces. All he wants is to belong; Marilyn attracted him by how much she fit in. During their fights, these issues come up again and again, but the two don’t see it. They interpret what the other says through the lens of what upsets them. James thinks that Marilyn regrets making an interracial marriage and James thinks he wishes that he had a more obedient wife.Everything I Never Told You alternates between the timeline following Lydia’s death and the past, beginning with James and Marilyn’s courtship and going through the day of her death. Such frequent and sustained flashbacks can really kill forward momentum in a novel, but that didn’t happen here at all. I found every character’s story fascinating and was eager to find out what had happened and would happen to each of them.This book is sad. Monstrously sad. There’s some amount of hope for the future, but pretty much every single character’s story made my heart hurt. They do terrible things and even act out in horribly predictable ways, but they’re all good people at heart, and it just hurt. I’m hanging most of my hope on the gay ship, which I think is canon, but this book is more about the journey through the pain than the better times to come.Everything I Never Told You is a gorgeous character study of the misunderstandings that crop up between people when they don’t honestly discuss what they want and how the feel.
  • (2/5)
    This book didn't appeal. I found the characters, especially the adults, truly horrible and I thought there was too much back story. This was not the exciting crime thriller I thought it would be, instead it was more of a family melodrama, and a tedious one at that.
  • (3/5)
    Nicely written, but soooo MFA in Creative Writing. Plotwise there was really nothing terribly interesting or unusual going on here and the big reveal is about as unrevealing as possible. Meh on many levels.
  • (4/5)
    One of the saddest books I’ve ever read.
  • (5/5)
    A painfully beautiful story of things unsaid and the unintentional wounds we inflict upon those we love best. Complex and realistic characters. I read until my eyes hurt two nights in a row and picked it up to finish it up first thing this morning while making my coffee. It's not quite a 5 for me because I found it slightly predictable in certain aspects; however, it more than made up for that with well-written characters and a compelling story.I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity.
  • (5/5)
    I really loved this story, and I knew that I would. I'm drawn to sad stories, and this is in a way one of the saddest, because everything is and should be fine, but nothing still is. It's easy to understand why everything goes to shit when people are poor, homeless, abused, drunk or high on something. But when everything is well but still everyone is sufferering and they don't really understand why that is, that is what makes this story so incredibly sad. I really felt for each of them, which is rare because I often find it hard to relate to everyone, but with this family, I did. Celeste, I'm a fan!
  • (4/5)
    Much like Little Fires Everywhere, this novel deals with the secret internal lives of characters in families, communities, and social groups. In this novel, the focus is on what it means to be different in suburbia. What's it like to be the only kid who looks different? How do you fit in when you aren't like everyone else? Both the adults and the children are flawed and needy in this novel. It begins with a tragedy, and throughout the novel we receive the clues as to why the tragedy occurs. The writing is beautiful and the characters become living beings as you read Ng's work. I really enjoyed this work.
  • (4/5)
    good good sad shit
  • (2/5)
    It was sort of interesting to see a traditional domestic drama from a Chinese American perspective and featuring an interracial marriage that stretches from the 1950s to the 1970s, but page by page the book just bored me as it plodded depressingly and without distinction through most of the cliches of its genre: death of a child, parents pushing dreams and expectations onto their children, infidelity, frustrated housewives, sibling rivalry, and secrets and lies, and secrets and lies, and secrets and lies.This is one of the stories where I don't feel it unfolds before me; rather I get the feeling the author is simply withholding information from me and releases it in dribs and drabs, hoping to lead me along like a dog snuffling kibbles from the ground. It probably doesn't help that I'm currently catching up on the first couple seasons of This Is Us on Hulu right now, where I sometimes feel the same frustration but am better engaged with the characters since they are not always 100% morose like the family in this book.I'm glad I read Little Fires Everywhere first, as I might not have bothered trying to read it after trudging through this.
  • (3/5)
    This quiet family drama is the epitome of a character-driven novel. It's an intimate look at the members of a family and the lies, hopes, and secrets that exist below the surface. There's a bit of a mystery, but don't pick it up expecting an elaborate whodunit.
  • (4/5)
    This novel was so sad. Very good but extremely sad. The story revolves around Lydia and is told from every family member's perspective. It moves between different time points so that you have to put the pieces together to get the full story. At the end of the day, I just felt bad for every single one of the children. It broke my heart to see the ways in which James and Marilyn tried and failed to understand their kids - until the very end, when it was too late. This was a beautifully tragic novel and I can definitely see why people recommend this novel. If you are looking for something emotionally raw and beautifully written and incredibly deep, then this is the book for you!
  • (4/5)
    starts with the drowning of a high school girl and then examines her family. Painful in the depiction of the impact of family members on one another. There's a illustration via a family cookbook and what it represents to the mom and the daughter that is meaningful.
  • (4/5)
    1970s small-town Ohio is a tough place to be a mixed race family. James Lee is Chinese-American, born in California of Chinese-born parents. Marilyn Lee is white, from Virginia, permanently estranged from her mother because she married James. Their three children, Nathan, Lydia, and Hannah, don't know much about the heritage and past of either parent, because James and Marilyn agreed on their wedding day to never talk about the past.

    This isn't even helpful for them, much less their kids.

    The book opens with a tragedy. Middle child Lydia, blue-eyed favorite of both her parents, is missing, and soon will be found at the bottom of a nearby lake.

    In alternating sections, we follow the Lee family's reaction to Lydia's death, the meeting and romance of James and Marilyn, and Nathan and Lydia's different responses to, and for a long time, their solidarity in the face of the different pressures they face from their parents.

    Youngest child Hannah is absently loved and largely ignored by everyone, and sees and hears a great deal more than anyone else. She's a careful and perceptive observer, even though too young to fully understand much of it at first.

    This is not a novel that's about its events, as shocking and painful as some of them are. It's about the family members' reactions, about their characters and their relationships. Ng develops them with delicate but powerful language, with insight and understanding. As strong and deep as the love between James and Marilyn is, this has always been a family under stress, and this crisis will be either their destruction or their salvation.

    This is just a marvelous book. Highly recommended.

    I received the audiobook edition free from the Ford Audiobook Club.
  • (3/5)
    Sometimes I wish that books came with warning labels. This one is a contender with 'Abide With Me' by Elizabeth Strout and 'We Are Not Ourselves' by Matthew Thomas as one of the most depressing book I've ever read. Two of the most brilliantly un-self-aware characters try to parent their children while dealing with their damaging pasts with sad results. The only thing that kept me going is that Celeste Ng is a talented author and is excellent at developing her characters, no matter how messed up they are.

    One review I read said that this book was likely a reflection of Ng's experiences as a Chinese American but could have used less navel gazing and more insight. That could be the case. I just know that it left me feeling bereft chapter after chapter.
  • (4/5)
    Very well written and engaging. The characters, setting, and family theme are relatable and interesting. I'm looking forward to reading more of Ng's work after this.
  • (4/5)
    Took me a while to finish it but I did enjoy it.
  • (4/5)
    Celeste Ng's "Evertying I Never Told You" was a decent debut novel -- and certainly strong enough that I would pick up another novel by her in the future. This novel explores the dynamics of a family and how a parents' hangups and foibles manfest in the next generation. The Lee family is stunned by the death of oldest daughter Lydia, and each member of the family attempts to reconstruct events surrounding her death, looking through their own particular lenses.There is a lot of like about the book -- the characters are really well drawn and the story is put together well. I think it missed the mark a bit on an emotional level, but I still flew through the book to find out if Lydia's death happened the way I expected. (It didn't.)
  • (5/5)
    Brilliant, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching. Characters so realistically flawed it's painful to read. A master class in third person omniscient narration. Loved it. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Such a great book! Beautifully written with well developed characters. Loved it!
  • (3/5)
    This book started out a little slow for me, it took a bit for me to warm to the characters and start to like them and feel for them. The book starts out with the the line "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." and is just a little heartbreaking from there.

    This look at a Chinese American family in the seventies is such a great character study and a look into what it was like to be mixed raced in a time where it was not the norm.
    Everything I Never Told You, is such an in depth look into any family really and the expectations that weigh down on the "golden child", the oldest sibling, and the slightly forgotten surprise child. It was so revealing and raw. The perspective from each family member felt so realistic and just sad as well. It was interesting to see a family dynamic so different from mine and how everyone's perceptions of their own family members could be so wrong at times, and how a breakdown of communication can become fatal. It was also interesting to see how expectations can cloud ones view of others and what you want becomes more important than what they want.

    Overall, I enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to others.
    3.5/5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    Explores the mystery of our inner lives. Can anyone ever really know someone else? Communication is a problem in this story. Left me a little...meh.
  • (3/5)
    I think this story was very sad. At times I felt for the family and other times I felt just infuriated with how selfish Marilyn and James were. Not only just selfish but neglectful too. I did not really enjoy this story but maybe because I felt so bad for Nathan, Hannah and Lydia.
  • (1/5)
    People who I really respect love this book. I did not. I found it trite and predictable. On a technical level Ng is quite capable. She is using an omniscient narrator to chronicle a family falling apart because of their secrets and the rift of a mixed marriage Asian/Caucasian. What is fascinating is that the character who is most effectively drawn is not one of the family, but the neighborhood boy, Jack. The book is extraordinarily implausible. Characters do things - the father having an affair, slapping his son - which come out of nowhere and lack the kind of foreshadowing necessary for us to believe them. In a sense the pass around quality of the omniscience serves to smokescreen this deficiency. Other characters, the son Nath and the mother, are reductively mechanistic. The mother is a one note about compensating for not having a career, the son wants to go to outer space. These are bolted on. Again on a technical level the movement back and forth in time is quite sophisticated, however, the entire book is melodrama told to us without substantive investigation of why or how. The final character, the youngest girl, who is the standin for Ng almost doesn't exist in the book and surprisingly has the least realistic reactions. This book comes out of the MFA program in Michigan where a number of other writers with a similarly mechanistic approach have recently emerged. Not good.
  • (4/5)
    This begins with the lines "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." After Lydia's family does find out, flaws within this household gradually become exposed. A good look at how things fall apart after an unexpected death in this family. I found this novel hard to put down.