Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You
By Celeste Ng
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143127550, May 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Tragedy sometimes brings people together. Sometimes it pushes them apart.

The Rest of It:

Surprisingly, this novel is called a literary thriller by some. A bit odd since we know from page one that Lydia is dead. I suppose the facts surrounding her death could make this a thriller, but I never considered it to be one.

When Lydia goes missing, her parents and siblings realize that they don’t really know who she hangs out with or what she does after school. She’s been leading a double-life in that what she portrays to her family, particularly her father, is a portrait of a popular, smart high school student when in fact she is not popular at all and not doing well in any of her classes.

This American-Asian family is trying to fit into a 1970’s small town Ohio neighborhood and their challenges are great. Of the three siblings, Lydia is the least Asian in appearance. Blonde with blue eyes but the rest of the kids get made fun of and although the father sees it, he chooses to ignore it thinking that what his kids need is a thicker skin, and to just work on being more popular. It’s a lot of pressure for them, especially Lydia which makes the reader question if her death is self-inflicted or something else.

What’s absolutely heartbreaking about this story is that even before Lydia’s death, this family had problems and her death seems to just bring them to the forefront. This family doesn’t communicate with one another. They don’t seem to fully understand or know what is going on in the family or if they do, they are in complete denial about it. There are a lot of missed opportunities to love one another, and that’s the real tragedy in this novel. And just when you want and hope for the parents to swoop in and be parents, they fail miserably and you are left shaking your head over it.It sounds so bleak and some of it is but there is some hope for a reader to cling to.

My book club discussed this and there was plenty to talk about. The topic of mixed marriage, ethnicity in general and the pressure for kids to perform were just a few things we discussed. Most of us felt that the author did a good job of going back and forth in time and sharing just a enough of each character’s perspective to get a feel for them without giving it all away. In that sense, there was an air of mystery to the story which made me want to turn the pages faster.

In summary, it was a pretty good read and gave us plenty to discuss.

Source: Borrowed
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Review: Atlas Shrugged (Read Along (#AtlasRAL) – Part Three)

Atlas Shrugged PT 3

It’s the summer of the chunkster! A group of us decided to read Atlas Shrugged (#AtlasRAL) this summer and we have hit our last milestone which was to complete the book by August 15th. I am happy to say that I finished it a week before the deadline. Yes!

“You don’t have to see through the eyes of others, hold onto yours, stand on your own judgment, you know that what is, is–say it aloud, like the holiest of prayers, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
— Dagny Taggart

First, a few thoughts:

  • Of the three parts, this last part was my least favorite. Much of it seemed a little far-fetched and the romantic undertones were overly dramatic, in my opinion.
  • In the previous parts, we have the build-up of what’s about to go down to look forward to, but in this part, we see it happen and was it just me, or was it a bit anticlimactic? Maybe because we all knew what was coming?
  • THE BIG SPEECH, which is super long and everyone warned me about, was not all that long or maybe I was more into it than I thought. I had no problems with it and didn’t even skim.
  • There is one character in the book, a much liked character who doesn’t fare all that well by the end of the story. This made me sad and was a little surprising.

Atlas Shrugged RAL

It’s really hard for me to sum this book up because it’s so many things. While reading, your mind can’t help but ponder the ideas presented. That no one should live or produce for the good of others alone. That art, be it science, music or industry should continue on with a focus on creation, not so much what it can do for another person. Facts are facts, no matter what one hopes or desires. It all makes sense, but it’s still hard to wrap the brain around. You know?

In the end, it was a remarkable book. Much easier to read than I thought it would be. It gave me lots to think about but that romantic thread! I really could have done without it.

For those who took a leap and read it with me… Guess what guys? We are done!

Click here to read what I had to say about Part 1 and Part 2.