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Time for book club! Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

Time for book club! Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

As with all book clubs, a great part of the joy of our Imaginary Book Club is reading together and chatting about what we’ve read as a group. For more info on how our online book club work, and the many ways you can participate, hop over here or sign up to read with us.

Each month our #ReadWithIBC post is the place for a no-holds-barred, spoilers-allowed, debate-encouraged discussion of our latest read.

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.”

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Look for our August book club selection first thing tomorrow morning! Click the sign-up button below to get weekly encouragement on your reading progress, along with exclusive content (including #SnackWithIBC)!

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16 Comments

  1. Whitney

    Hi lovelies! Just want to drop a note to say WE HEARD YOU! Discussion questions are back this July. I also want to test the waters by asking y’all if you’d be interested in submitting discussion questions for our book of choice throughout the month. That would be easy to do either on our announcement post or over on our Facebook group. Let me know what you think!

    Reply
    • Jill K.

      I like the idea of discussion throughout the month.

      Reply
  2. Imaginary Book Club

    Wouldn’t life have been a lot better for everyone if they just told each other how they feel?

    Reply
  3. Imaginary Book Club

    Lydia was in many ways the favorite of her parents. How did that pressure affect her and her siblings? Who ended up worse off?

    Reply
    • Whitney

      I think everyone was in really rough shape by the end, but I definitely felt for Hannah most! Poor kiddo. Born to a mother who saw her as a dream-crusher, into a broken family, to siblings who had been traumatized. She grew up feeling like she wasn’t part of the family, and hiding in hopes that no one would notice her – and they rarely did.

      Reply
    • Whitney

      EVERYONE. No one told anyone anything.

      Reply
  4. Imaginary Book Club

    Marilyn and her mother interpreted their lives at stay-at-home mothers in very different ways. Do you think one is happier or more satisfied?

    Reply
    • Whitney

      Well, Marilyn was really obviously dissatisfied. But I am not convinced that her mother was any happier! She envisioned her life as a SAHM one way, but then her husband wasn’t there anymore and I am not entirely sure that she was actually happy living that life. She clearly felt the need to pass on to Marilyn that being a SAHM was the ultimate joy in life, but I wasn’t sure that she actually felt it. Maybe I was reading between the lines.

      Reply
    • Whitney

      PS: Obviously, people can be very happy as SAHMs. Your mileage may vary.

      Reply
  5. Imaginary Book Club

    How do Nath, Lydia, and Hannah understand each other? How do they completely miss the point?

    Reply
  6. Imaginary Book Club

    How many different characters did you just want to clobber over the head by the time you were finished reading? What was the biggest failure that mystified you?

    Reply
    • Whitney

      This whole darn book could have been avoided if Marilyn had just handled things differently. Why didn’t she just tell James that she was serious about working? That she hated cooking dinner? That she had hopes and dreams that were different from her reality? Of course, a happy family makes for a boring book, but it just didn’t seem that hard to speak up to the people you love.

      Reply
  7. Imaginary Book Club

    What would have happened if Lydia had reached the dock? Do you think she would have been able to change her parents’ views and expectations of her?

    Reply
    • Whitney

      It’s nice to think that, right? I’m not sure anything really would have changed. Lydia’s attitude might have shifted, but I don’t think that her parents would have understood at all. I think that they would have just continued to pile all their hopes and dreams on to the poor girl.

      Reply
  8. Whitney

    Lydia’s parents are almost like the worst kind of pageant parents! Just achieve everything we never could! You can do it!

    Reply

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