This is such a captivating and pleasurable read. Everything I Never Told You is about a family in a small Ohio town in the 70s. It all starts with the disappearance and death of Lydia, one of the daughters, giving the impression of a typical whodunit story line. But there is more to it than meets the eye. Lydia was a product of an interracial marriage and had always felt that she was different, even more so in their small town. Her parents came from backgrounds that were polar opposites. Her mother fell in love with her father because he was different; her father came to love her mother because she blended in perfectly. Both parents wanted their kids, especially Lydia, to fit in. They wanted her to achieve what they did not, molding her into what they thought she had to be to in order to become what they aspired for themselves.
For a story that explores a lot of issues, – race, identity, aspirations, love, grief and a sense of belonging – it manages to communicate each one clearly while at the same time keeping a tightly knit plot. Even the switching timelines contributes to the increasing tautness of the story.
Ng writes in a profoundly light manner and gives you the feeling that you are floating in the air and just watching everything happen below. She has also managed to create characters that are authentically relatable, albeit fully flawed. Each one of them will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.
It is quite remarkable that this is Ng’s debut work. The writing, the flow of the story and the complex characterizations are exceptional. She handled all like a seasoned novelist.
Neriza Alba works a regular 9-to-5 job in Stockholm where she resides with her husband. In addition to reading, she enjoys travelling and curling up with a glass of good wine.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.