I didn’t know if I would like this book. I actually bought it a while ago, but it was only after watching the AMAZING TV show Little Fire Everywhere, that I was drawn back to the author again and her way of writing about people’s lives and race and the psychology of how our past lingers.
Please, go watch the show! It’s important and chilling and clever and the characters are brilliant! It’s a limited series on Amazon.
Or better yet, read Little Fires Everywhere the book (I haven’t yet).
But yeah, Everything I Never Told You (EINTY) is an important read, too, though perhaps has a slower plot than her other book. Celeste herself is a Chinese-American, and so are the central family in the book. Well, the father is and the wife is white. They are a mixed-race, biracial family.
Race does matter in the book and she deals with it very well. Somehow being subtle and overt at the same time! It’s set in the 1970s, so naturally, a different America to what you see today.
(Until 1959, it was illegal in 20 American states to marry outside of your race).
Marilyn’s (the white wife) mother disagreed with the marriage and Marilyn never spoke to her mother again after their wedding. I won’t give it all away, but there’s tension after their daughter, Lydia, is found dead (not a spoiler, it literally says it on the book and in the synopsis!).
The family unravels and they are all faced with the ghosts of their pasts. The mistakes they’ve made. Biases or tensions left unaddressed and hidden.
It’s a powerful book; emotional and real and so well-written. She shifts between past and present to fill in blanks like an expert, which, of course, she is! I’m in awe as a writer myself!
This is a great book if you like mystery, characters, psychology, emotion, realism, and raw storytelling. It’s also a very important book for the times, with the Black Lives Matter movement, as it’s not about a black family, but a family torn apart by racial prejudice and being ‘other’ in their society nonetheless – a story still ringing true today.
Let’s help raise BIPoC voices! Let’s read and hear and share their stories! Representation matters. It matters.
Get your copy of Everything I Never Told You here