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Review: Everything I Never Told You




On the 13:15 train from Manchester to London, I found myself captivated by this book and its chilling exposé of the dizzying array of secrets that run through the fault lines of the family unit and in turn, the makeup of society.

Like most books that I read for leisure, this was a fairly easy read. Nothing too complex by concept or by language usage. But, despite its simplicity, this book is perhaps the most emotionally charged 292 pages I have ever read. We see love. We see loss. We see longing. We see the wins, the failures, and the almosts. We see the whole spectrum of human emotion laid out bare for us. We see our vulnerabilities stripped down to the core, printed onto paper, and bound in this book. As is the case in all great pieces of art or literature, we find elements of ourselves mirrored in the characters the author, Ng, has so skilfully crafted. In short, this book packs a punch and takes us all the way back to our roots.

How had it begun? Like everything: with mothers and fathers. Because of Lydia’s mother and father, because of her mother’s and father’s mothers and fathers.

Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You paints a delicate picture – one we too often try to brush under the carpet for the sake of keeping up appearances. Walking the fine line between race relations, the nuclear family portrait, and the simple side effects of life itself, this novel is nothing short of a work of art.

This isn’t a book I’d recommend to the faint-hearted. Though simple on the surface, there is much to be read in between the lines. The novel is both chilling and gripping and leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth by the end of it, but I’d read it all over again. With the faint glimmer of hope of absolving one’s sins in life used as emotional bait, Ng uses this book to force readers to understand the power of accountability and its subsequent ability to be a driving force for change.

The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you—whether because you didn’t get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.

Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

This isn’t a novel that will change your life, but it will change you.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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