“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.”
That is the first line in this book by Celeste Ng. In this contemporary novel, “Everything I Never Told You,” we are presented with a fact: Lydia is dead. It is not a ride full of laughter and joy but a rather sad story filled with realizations and regret.
Lydia is the second child of Marilyn and James Lee. Being a half-Chinese, half-American child in the United States during the 1970s was not easy for Lydia or for her older brother, Nath and younger sister, Hannah. Making friends was not easy and neither is having to live with high expectations from your mother. This is not only a story about a young girl named Lydia. Rather, it is the story of her whole family; how each and everyone of them contributed to the decisions made by Lydia and each other until the time of her death. What would you do if the person you thought you knew turns out to be someone you don’t know at all?
I have to be honest that this book made me cry. I felt the regret and disappointment in the characters and it was just heartbreaking. I wanted to turn the hands of time for them so that they didn’t have to suffer the loss of their loved one. Ugh.. the feels.
Not only did this book make me feel the sadness the characters felt, it also made me realize that every little thing we do or say can really affect other people in a massive way. There are also times when we neglect to express what we really mean thinking that it does not matter yet it turns out, had we expressed our true feelings, things would’ve turned out differently. Little gems of realizations like these are abundant in this book and it’s scary to think that our own little actions could cause something so devastating to our loved ones.
One of the topics touched upon in this book is the effect of the parents’ attention to their children or the lack thereof. Parents normally have such high expectations and dreams for their children that sometimes they forget their children have their own identities as well. There are times when the parents try so hard for their children not to make the same mistakes they did that they push them to exactly where they don’t want them to be. The beauty of irony.
This had been a good read but if you’re looking for something light and fun, don’t even try to read the synopsis of this book. “Everything I Never Told You” touches upon various serious topics that society sometimes overlooks. They bear much weight to our lives yet they are overshadowed by more obvious and highly publicized issues. Read this book and you would take a step back at every decision/action you’ve ever made and will make. It just might change the way you look at life.
NinthMelody rating: 7/10