When I first heard that Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng was Amazon’s pick for best book of 2014, I was almost reluctant to read it because I thought it might be hyperbole. It wasn’t hyperbole.
Everyone has secrets. In Everything I Told You, written by Celeste Ng, and beautifully narrated by Cassandra Campbell, everyone in a family learns unexpected things about themselves and the people around them.
James, a Chinese-American history professor who enjoys seeing people look surprised when he says he teaches American history, is married to Marilyn, a pretty blonde still bitter that her desire to be a doctor was thwarted by teachers in the 1950s. They told her she’d be too distracting to the boys in Science classes. Both parents compete to be the favorite of their favorite child: Lydia.
Lydia’s burden, and one of the reasons she’s ill-prepared for surprises in life is that everyone expects her to know everything already -that’s the mantle we place on the gifted. When Lydia dies, feeling “how suffocating to be so loved”, her parents and her siblings, Nate and Hannah, discover layers of secrets within themselves. And that reveals the mystery of how and why Lydia died.
Everything I Never Told You moves seamlessly through the viewpoints of different characters. Told from Lydia’s perspective, it reminded me a little of The Lovely Bones.
Everything I Never Told You is a book that will draw you back until you finish reading it. That’s one of the reasons I love audiobooks. You can’t always drop everything and go back to reading; but you can listen to a good story while you’re driving or making dinner. I’m glad I chose the audiobook for Everything I Never Told You.