everything i never told you // Celeste Ng

published: 2015
pages: 297 
isbn: 978-0143127550
heard: 6/1-6/2017
rating: ahh! loved it! 
book: 21 of 29 for 2017

“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.

this book!!!!!
this was Sarah's (& Nick's) last book club read that i meant to read but never got around to it (don't know why i didn't check it out from the library). but as i was surfin' the now available audio books section for my library, i found this book so i decided to give it a go. (you can only listen to the same playlist over and over so many times!) (also, suck it audible with your 15.99 books or whatever!)

i kinda regret not checking it out now. 
but I'm glad that i heard it. so per usual, I'm a mess. 

i didn't go in thinking that this was a mystery book but it did help me get into this book with the knowledge that it was based on family. 

this isn't my usual read. just the other day i was complaining about how i wasn't feeling books that are so in the now so this book being set in the 1970's-1980's was a refreshing scene. 

anyway, this book. 

i cant really say much on here (ill say most of it in the spoilers below) but I'll say that i love what Celeste created. 
i think she did a good job creating the family dynamic that basically fell apart because they didn't communicate. she did such a good job in creating Lydia and Nate and what their parents both did and did not want for them individually. 
it was sad that her mother was looking in Lydia for what she had lost. it was sad that in a way, their father was trying NOT to find in Nate what he "had" as a child. 
i honestly believe that both parents could have had what they wanted had they focused the correct energy on the proper child in a proper manner. 
i hated how hard her mom was on her. i hated that they placed all this pressure on her to be something that she wasn't about. 
i hated that Nate craved all the attention (well, not all of it) that Lydia got but it was Lydia that had to have it all.  
they had their kids so backwards!

and Hannah. 
faawk! poor Hannah. 
that line about the attic just about killed me. 
she really got a shitty end of the deal that she didn't even ask for. but i liked her because, yes she was the youngest, but she paid attention. she knew to stay quiet and knew when and how to observe. 
i truly believe that's how she learned to survive all of that. i love that because for the most part she has to raise herself. she really learns as she goes. 
she has a list of things that she has learned are not true. and i think that says a lot because at my age, I'm still learning things that are not what i thought they were and i think that shows her, in a way, preparing for life. 

i think Celeste did an amazing job in showing how other people's actions have consequences. 
this wasn't just with Lydia's mother, but her mom's mom. 
it wasn't with James' upbringing but more with his shame about it. 

there's just so many factors and woven parts that made this book beautiful for me.
the way it intertwined within itself was the...best.  

that's all on say on this here because everything that i do want to say in some way contains spoilers. 
but definitely check this book out. 
I'm hoping to buy it if i catch it on sale. 

oh! and did you know: 
rabbits and frogs were used as pregnancy tests back in the 60/70's. that just about blew my mind. 
ya learn something new every day. 

thanks for reading. 
#lesreads on IG


Marilyn, Lydia's mom, was going to school to become a doctor. 
as much as her mother wished upon her to meet a Harvard man and marry him and become the typical 60's housewife, she wasn't having any of it. 

then one day, the sub walks into her class and she can't do anything other than think of him. 
so she shows up at his office door and makes a move and from there on they're inseparable. 

James can't believe his luck. 
because of his ethnicity, he was i guess you can call it ashamed even though he was born in America. 
his parents worked really hard to make sure that he got a good education and was taken care of. 

so when Marilyn, a white woman, made a move on him he couldn't believe it. 

they date for a while and then she ends up pregnant. 
so they get married. 
she calls her mother to be there and she basically flips her lid because she is not marrying a man of her race. 

they have Nate. 
then they have Lydia. 

Marilyn hates that she became everything that her mother said, wished, she would. 

then one day, sometime after coming back home from cleaning her mother's house (whom she hadn't spoken to in years) because she passed away, she has enough and she runs away. 
she's going back to school to get her degree and make something of herself. 
but the night before she leaves, she of course has sex with her husband. 
causing her to get pregnant.

she still leaves for about 2 weeks before i forgot what happens that led her to the hospital that led the hospital to call her husband to come get her. 
so she goes back home.

in those 2 weeks that she was gone, Lydia found the book her mother had brought home from her mothers house. 
the cookbook that was basically her bible and she took and hid it and she swore that if her mother ever came back she would do all she ever asked for. 

so when Marilyn came back, she asked that Lydia basically be the new Marilyn. to get the education and live the life that she never had. 
so she basically rode her pretty hard.
she wouldn't let her be a kid. all the time it was books for gifts. it was studying all the time. it was always learning. 
Lydia hated it. 
Nate loved it. (meaning like he would have loved to have done all that). 

everything that Marilyn wanted for Lydia, nate wanted for himself but no one could touch the golden child that Lydia was. 

meanwhile, James wanted Nate to be a social kid. a kid who wouldn't get bothered by what others said. he had to get into Harvard in order to be something to his father but other than that, it didn't matter what he did or what he was into. 

James was a teacher at school where he had a TA Louisa. 
he picks up Lydia from school to take her to get her drivers license and on the way they drop off Louisa at the dentist and in the car ride, the way Louisa acts with her father makes her think that they are having an affair. 
so Lydia dies thinking that her father was having an affair which in fact didn't  start happening until the day of her funeral. 

at the end of it all, Lydia kills herself by drowning herself in the lake. 
she can't swim and she remembers the time that Nate pushed her in and how she felt. 

ill be honest with you, this part i was kinda busy so i didn't know if she killed herself for reals meaning like that was her intention or if her intention was to go into the water and try to "be born again" kinda like "i take everyone's crap and release it of me." but i think it's the former. 

she kills herself to let Nate be who he is meant to be so he can leave to Harvard and she wont have to deal with having to be the perfect kid to her mother and not having her brother be there to help her cope. 
she kills herself because she can't deal with all that her mother wants of her. 
she kills herself because she can't stand the fact that her father is having an affair (which at the moment he wasn't.) 
and she kills herself to show Jack that she would never spill his secret. 
(jack is the notorious kid in school. sleeping around with all the girls. except, he's gay. and he's in love with Nate. so of course when Lydia tries to make a move on him and he tells her no, she goes insane. then when she realizes that he's in love with her brother she threatens to tell everyone.) 

and that's it. 
they're a broken family but at the end i think you get the feeling that they resolve to make it all better. 

i mean, she tells it better....so read the book.

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