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. (From Amazon)
What happened at book club…
Pre-Christmas book club is always a special one – especially when our host is on the ball and we’re surrounded by twinkling lights and candle sticks, even if they do get the boot to make room for the food!
This month’s book, Everything I Never Told You, had some heavy duty themes – grieving the death of a child/sister, interracial marriage and the implications for couples and their children, the expectations and pressure that comes with being the star child and what it means for siblings, unrequited teen love, unfulfilled dreams … There’s a lot going on.
The book is well written and easy to read, but most of us felt the many themes were not well-developed. We wanted to know if at least one of the characters turned out okay. Like, how did poor little Hannah make out – is she still a kleptomaniac hiding under tables?
We were all a little unclear about why Marilyn saved her mother’s Betty Crocker Cook Book. And how she could walk away from her life for 3 months and then come back home as if all was ok – no explanation, no acknowledgment of the effect on her children and no more grub! Just her and spaghettios. Marilyn…ergh!!!
Despite the book’s shortfalls, it spurred a really great discussion about family, couples who survive the loss of a child, resentful siblings, curfew’s that are only in effect until midnight (after that look out), and being stalked by your parents. We also talked about Christmas plans – ranging from sunshine resorts to a seniors home filled with flirty old women with bad eye sight.
Thank you to our host for our wonderful night, to Liz for homemade maple syrup and to Joanne for homemade donuts! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! See you next year.
Ps. Who else was shocked to see Frosty getting a little something, something from Minnie Mouse on the neighbor’s lawn – you all saw that right?