Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be reviewing Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng today! If you do not know who Celeste Ng is, she is the author of Little Fires Everywhere, a book which I absolutely adored and Everything I Never Told You is her debut novel.
So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article!
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.
Where do I even begin, Miss Ng? You annihilated me with this novel and I am immensely grateful that you did because this turns out to be one of my favourite books of all time. I cannot stop thinking about this book ever since I had finished it because it left an enormous impact on me that I do not think that it will get off me anytime soon. In other words, this novel is a masterpiece that leeches on your brain after you finish and I am about to explain to you the ‘why’ and the ‘how’s.
Although this book may sound like an exciting thriller with a pace faster than the maturity of an instant noodle packet from the synopsis, it is not what it seems. In fact, it is the polar opposite of what this book is. This novel is categorized in the literary fiction genre and it is slow-paced. It is a character-driven story that focuses on the everyday life of the Lee family and how the very core or essence of the family crumbles as they face the death of a loved one and how the family recovers from this tragic event when all hope of recovery seems lost amid grief.
The writing style of this book is similar to what she did in Little Fires Everywhere but, it is milder and more natural in every way possible and let me illustrate why. In Little Fires Everywhere, we get perspective from everyone and by everyone, I mean people who are not even that relevant to the story and they have mini flashbacks that we, the readers, do not fret about. In Everything I Never Told You, there are only flashbacks and perspectives from the Lee family and it does not only make the story progress better, but it also makes the story less saturated with insignificant narratives. With that aside, the writing style is elegant with sentences twine together effortlessly which is stunning to witness.
This book consolidates racism, sexism, challenges of interracial marriage. Although it has all of those, none of them is the prime focus of the novel however, they are tied deeply into the story. For example, Lydia’s mother – Marilyn – faces sexism in her University and at her mother’s house that she vows to teach Lydia not to become her mother and to be a doctor in a field dominated by men. With that comes parental pressure and parental expectations which send Lydia spiralling down a dark path. As with racism and interracial marriages, there’s negative stereotyping, open intimidation, friendless as they stand out in a school filled with white people, disapproval of a family member and insults such as racial slurs.
The book has its prime focus on loneliness, resentment and jealousy. Loneliness befalls due to the lack of friends the Lee children experience. Resentment and jealousy transpire as the parents focus more on Lydia than Nath and Hannah. For example, every time Nath – the son – has something distinctive to declare like getting admitted into Harvard, it is proclaimed promptly with reactions that are short-lived from the parents and the focus will expeditiously return to Lydia instead. Hannah (the youngest daughter), however, has little to no reaction from the parents as they often forget that she even exists. These three qualities fuel this novel with rich family drama that forms cracks in a broken family that did not know they are crumbling from the inside.
The first 15 pages of this novel managed to evoke emotions from me and towards the end of the novel, I was bawling my ass off because of how incredibly relatable the characters are and how the story almost hit too close to home for me. So, if you are looking for a good cry, do pick this book up to read.
My final verdict for this book would be a whopping 100% (A+). Going into this novel, I did not expect it to leave as much of an impact than it did on me and that’s what makes this book so special to me because the characters are deeply relatable, there’s realistic flaws in the characters, the deep character study that Celeste Ng explores and the focus on the crumbling of a family after the death of a loved one and the recovery of a broken family.
This is the end of my review for Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!