In this episode of Jennifer’s Book Segment, originally aired on Local FM on March 7th, 2018, Jennifer talks with co-creator of The Lorenzo Review, Andrea Kikuchi, about Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
About the Book: Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Everything I Never Told You forces you to look at life from the very different perspectives of each of the characters. The story reminds us that we each live our own separate individual lives while incorporating those individual lives into the lives of one another. Lydia is the middle child of Marilyn and James Lee and she lives a quiet, non-social life while doing her best to please her parents. Her mother, Marilyn, wants Lydia to have the opportunity to become what she wanted to be: a doctor. Her father, James, wants Lydia to be a social butterfly (unlike himself at her age).
When Lydia’s body is found dead in the local lake, the Lees’ lives spiral in all directions. They are forced to re-evaluate family dynamics, expectations, and themselves. Many secrets come to light as they re-discover why they love each other, as well as what it takes to simply press on and move forward from one day to the next. The book keeps you in the present as everyone tries to piece together the death of Lydia and how profoundly it impacts them all, but it also takes you back to the past to discover everything that has happened leading up to how and why Lydia passes.
The author, Celeste Ng, lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Everything I Never Told You was a New York Time’s Bestseller, Amazon’s # 1 Best Book of 2014, and was the winner of many other literary awards.