Review: Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng
After reading Little Fires Everywhere, I have been curious about Everything I Never Told You - so I'm so happy I finally got to read this book after it was so kindly gifted to me by a fellow blogger!
This is a multigenerational story following Marylin and James as they grow up, and their own family once they are married. This Chinese American family are on the rocks when favourite child Lydia goes missing. We see all the cracks that start to show in Marylin and James' marriage, as well as the complex relationships they have with their children.
Similarly to Little Fires Everywhere, I knew this book would perfectly encapsulate complicated family relationships and it certainly delivered on that front. From reading the description, you'd purely expect the book to focus on Lydia's disappearance and how this affected her parents and siblings. However, having the story jump back and forth between past and present, the reader can see how Lydia was raised and furthermore, see Marylin's and James' upbringing to understand their parenting choices. All of these layers provides a truly enriching reading experience with well fleshed out characters and personal relationships.
Some things that the book touched on that I was surprised by was the expectation of your children when it comes to education and the different ways parents raise their children. There are questions that are asked that I found incredibly thought provoking, about the extent as to which you should push your children in their academic pursuits and weighing up punishment and reward.
The relationships between the parents and the other children is another crucial part of the story. Always feeling second best to Lydia explains much of their attitudes towards their parents following their sister's disappearance. Each of the characters is going through some kind of identity crisis, enriching the family dynamics in a way I have not found in many contemporary books. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone that was a fan of Little Fires Everywhere and those that enjoy meaty contemporaries and stories that are very character driven. I truly did love this book, however it cannot go into my all time favourites pile just simply due to the topic not matching up to some of my 5 star favourites. Initial Prediction: 4 stars
Final Rating: 4 stars
Publication Date: 26 June 2014 (my edition: 1 February 2015)
# of Pages: 304