Book of the month: Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)

November 12, 2018Hels

Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng) is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and is unlike anything I’ve ever read before…

Set in a small town in Ohio in 1977, Everything I Never Told You is the story of a mixed-race, Chinese-American family. Lydia is the middle child of Marilyn and James Lee, and one morning, she is missing.

Her brother, sister and parents have to learn to live without her, and navigate themselves through the investigation. Her disappearance puts pressure on her parent’s marriage, and through flashbacks and different perspectives, we begin to understand more about the family, their relationships and their secrets. We learn more about James and Marilyn, about what paths they took that led them to where they are now. Marilyn was set to become a doctor when she met James, who was working towards his PhD.

The reader learns immediately that Lydia is dead – the book is not a mystery as to whether she died or not, but rather, what was the reason for her disappearance. The writing in this book is absolutely brilliant. There aren’t the typical twists and turns of crime books, but the intrigue, the excellent storytelling and the brilliant characters kept me hooked until the very end. I loved that it was set in the 70s – there was no social media for Lydia to update, no mobile phones to be traced, I thought that gave the story a totally different dimension to other crime books I’ve read this year.

I found this book sad, and hard to read at times. Ultimately it is a heartbreaking portrait of a family struggling, and a young woman who is burdened by the expectations of others. I absolutely loved this book, I thought it was an exceptional read, and I’m a huge fan of Ng’s writing.

Have you read Everything I Never Told You? Does it sound like the kind of book you’d enjoy?


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