Monday Murder Mystery: Everything I Never Told You

Monday Murder Mystery: Everything I Never Told You

Daily Kos

Susan Grisby

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng; Published by Penguin Press; June 26th 2014. 297 pages

Families are probably the most mysterious strangers we will ever know. Sure, we know their names and that one is a brother or a father or sister or mother, but our image of them is one that we form very young and rarely re-evalutate.

My older brother used to drive down from Northern California to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with us every year starting about fifteen years ago. For many years before that, we really did not like each other very much. Mostly because we were still clinging to the images that we had carried from childhood.

Strange how that works. Although I had allowed myself to change and grow, my family members always seemed static in my mind. I learned to break through those images to re-discover who these people are that I call my relatives as did my older brother. We became very close friends and I miss him every year around this time.

Having lived family drama, I wasn’t much interested in a mystery that focused on it, and so allowed this one to sit on my metaphorical nightstand for way too long before I finally picked it up and started reading.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.

And so begins one of the most remarkable debut novels that I have ever read for this series. A 16 year-old girl disappeared one morning in 1977. Later, her body is found in a nearby lake in the small Ohio town where the family lives. Accident, murder, or suicide?

Celeste Ng smoothly alternates points of view and switches back and forth between the fifties, sixties and seventies to introduce us to the main characters of the Lee family.

James Lee is a first generation Chinese American who was a teaching assistant at Harvard when he met Marilyn Walker, a Virginia student, studying to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. They fall in love, she gets pregnant, they marry and move to Ohio where James takes a teaching position at Middlewood College and Marilyn, having put aside her own career ambitions, raises their three children, Nathan, Lydia and Hannah…

Read the entire review here.

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