If you pick up EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU be prepared for a book that is both compelling AND deeply disturbing. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
At the start of the book a 16 year old girl is dead. The rest of the book is about figuring out what happened to her. But this no simple crime drama.
Instead, it’s the story of one family and the ways in which its five members believe they know each other intimately — though in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. Particularly relevant because all members of even the best families keep secrets. And here’s a story of how those secrets end up impacting everyone.
As you read you will slowly uncover the “true” family dynamics from each person’s distinctive perspective –both parents and their three children.
• James, a professor at a small liberal arts college, struggles with his Asian heritage.
• His wife Lydia mourns the path she DIDN’T take.
• Nath, their oldest and finishing up his senior year of high school, is eager to head to an ivy league college.
• Lydia, the favorite, has aspirations of becoming a doctor, but has recently begun hanging out with the neighborhood “bad boy.”
• And Hannah, the youngest, turns out to be the most astute observer of them all.
As their family history unfolds, the reader discovers how different members of the family have been shaped differently, by the very same events. And because the history is so completely plausible, ordinary even, it’s unsettling to see how BOTH parents AND siblings unknowingly make profound mistakes in dealing with each other that then impact the fate of them all.
Ng has done an excellent job of making each of these five characters unique and believable. I look forward to her future novels.
More about the Author Celeste Ng.
You may also be interested in my review of Ng’s 2017 book Little Fires Everywhere, which is set in Ng’s hometown of Shaker Heights, Ohio.