Friday, October 21, 2016

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I found Everything I Never Told You depressing.  That said, I did read the whole thing, so I guess I also found it somewhat compelling.  I'm not very shy about leaving books unread.

The story starts with the death of Lydia.  Lydia is the favorite of three children of James, a second generation Japanese American, and Marilyn, who had a thwarted dream of being a doctor.  Lydia is the middle child and a teen at the time of her death in the 1970s.  From there, we journey both in the past and the present as we find out what brought this family to this point and what happens from there.

There were things I found somewhat moving about this book.  The experiences of the parents and children as being part of this mixed family in a time when that was not common.  The mother's struggle with being a woman in the 1950s who wants a serious career in science but is sidetracked by motherhood.  The way Lydia and her brother band together.

Mostly, though, I was annoyed by these people.  I found them all to be whiny and, seemingly, accepting of being miserable.  Hannah, the youngest child, is a little different.  She's oddly resigned to her lot in life as the ignored youngest child, but doesn't seem to be all that whiny about it.

There is supposed to be some mystery about what happened the night Lydia died, but it seems pretty straight forward to me from early on.  We do build to a reveal of sorts and I didn't have the exact specifics of the reveal figured out, but I definitely had the idea of the thing.

I do realize the book is called Everything I Never Told You, so the fact that no one talks to anyone shouldn't come as a surprise.  But I was so annoyed by how much went wrong because of this that I was just frustrated.  The mother makes a choice that boggled my mind.  It could have been so different if she'd just talked about what she wanted to do.  And then how the father reacts to that choice...and on and on.  It just all left me shaking my head.

I didn't like Everything I Never Told You, but I did finish it.  So, there's that.

No comments:

Post a Comment