Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, 297 pages

The book begins "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet."  This is the story of a family with a Chinese father and Caucasian mother who were married at a time when that was illegal in some states.  Lydia dies at the age of 16 in 1977.

Lydia, the favorite of three children, drowns and the question is was it murder or suicide?  The Lee's are an unhappy family with a mother, Marilyn, who wanted to be a doctor but fell in love and got pregnant so became a stay at home wife and mother instead.  It is the story of father James, the son of Chinese immigrants who has felt discrimination his whole life.  It is the story of their three lonely children who are the only Asian children in their schools.  The parents put all of their energy, hopes and dreams into Lydia.  This is hard on all three of the Lee children.

The first 3/4 of the book were very difficult to read.  Lots of sadness, lack of communication, frustration, misunderstanding and anger.  I almost gave up on it and would have, if it wasn't a book club book.  I am so glad I didn't give up.  The last 1/4 was hopeful, powerful and healing.  This is not a book where the story is tied up prettily at the end but it ends on a note of hope and that little bit of hope is all I need to be satisfied.

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