By Celeste Ng
I know I’ve been saying for ages that I was going to read Little Fires Everywhere first, but I read the first chapter of Everything I Never Told You and was hooked instantly. Everything I Never Told You is a tense read with gorgeous prose which feels really light but has so much between the lines.
“They never discussed it, but both came to understand it as a promise: he would always make sure there was a place for her. She would always be able to say, Someone is coming. I am not alone.”
The book opens up with a young, mixed race Chinese-American family in the 70’s, of which the middle child, Lydia, is found dead. The family is seemingly nuclear, with well behaved children, living in suburbia. As the novel progresses, the reader goes back and forth in time and gradually discovers the reason behind Lydia’s death in the nuances of her life. Everything I Never Told You is by no means a plot heavy book, but it certainly feels like so much is happening as you get to know the family.
“You loved so hard and hoped so much and then you ended up with nothing. Children who no longer needed you. A husband who no longer wanted you. Nothing left but you, alone, and empty space.”
Everything I Never Told You provides interesting perspective on the impact of even the smallest interactions between people who really care about each other. I could see a lot of these things in my own life; such as parents pushing their dreams onto their children, short flashes of discourse which mean so much to one person and nothing to the other. Ng’s use of ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ was fantastic. The entire novel is told in third person but you can clearly feel every single feeling through a character’s movements or language. There isn’t much else to say! Everything I Never Told You is one of those books that you just hop into and let it take you on a crazy emotional rollercoaster and I loved it.
I really love novels which are more character driven! This a great example alongside A Little Life (the all-time favourite) – if you have any others please do send me a link! After settling back in Sydney I’m starting to get back into the swing of reading regularly 🙂
Also wanted to mention that if you are feeling down and you think something is wrong, please seek help. There are people who will be there for you – please never think otherwise. ❤