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Everything I Never Told You: A Novel
by Celeste Ng

Published: 2014-06-26
Hardcover : 304 pages
16 members reading this now
75 clubs reading this now
14 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 19 of 21 members
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s ...
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Introduction

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town 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’s 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 that 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.

Editorial Review

Selected by the Amazon Editors as the #1 Book of the Year: Lydia is dead. From the first sentence of Celeste Ng’s stunning debut, we know that the oldest daughter of the Chinese-American Lee family has died. What follows is a novel that explores alienation, achievement, race, gender, family, and identity--as the police must unravel what has happened to Lydia, the Lee family must uncover the sister and daughter that they hardly knew. There isn’t a false note in this book, and my only concern in describing my profound admiration for Everything I Never Told You is that it might raise unachievable expectations in the reader. But it’s that good. Achingly, precisely, and sensitively written. --Chris Schluep

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Discuss/compare 'Evereything I Never Told You' with 'Decontructing Amelia".
by l0ve2READ (see profile) 12/02/15

Question regarding inter-racial marriage laws in US, history and change
by billieparrott (see profile) 04/08/15

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Good book for discussion
by sdelorenzo (see profile) 08/01/15
This book covers many different family issues. Parental expectations, Isolation within family, being different... Makes for a really good book club discussion.
Author background
by billieparrott (see profile) 04/08/15
Be sure and do a little research on the web and read about the author of this book. There are several sites that have interviews with her with a lot of information about how her family and childhood experience contributed to the book.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 11/03/19

We gave this a B-.

 
by thminchew (see profile) 05/30/19

 
  "How Well Do You Know Your Family?"by l0ve2READ (see profile) 12/02/15

A sad story of a family adrift in every direction but towards each other. No one really listens to the other. But then sometimes nothing is really being said,,,it's all being kept inside. Some of the characters... (read more)

 
by sdelorenzo (see profile) 08/01/15

 
by Discoqueen21 (see profile) 05/18/15

Once I picked it up, it was difficult to put down. Very easy to ready and sort of sad but good!

 
  "Provided a Launching Pad for Discussion"by carolkaskin (see profile) 05/15/15

My club has all female retirees, so the most interesting discussions last night centered on how we ourselves had felt the stigma of being a minority in some setting. Our group has a former high school... (read more)

 
by stasha (see profile) 04/28/15

 
by jtfranks (see profile) 04/21/15

 
  "If only people talked to one another..."by billieparrott (see profile) 04/08/15

This book provided the basis for lots of discussion about race and feelings of exclusion, but the most lively discussion was centered around family dynamics and the fact that parents and children do not... (read more)

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