This book...it wasn't for me.  Maybe it'll be better for you, but it just wasn't my thing.

Maybe it was that the narrator's voice (I listened to the audiobook in my car) was not emotional enough for me and a little too breathy and I feel that she would be better suited reading a romance novel ("she pulled the crossword across the table" should not cause my husband to say "Honey! What are you listening to?!").

Maybe it was because the story was told in third person and not first person (I really prefer books to be written in first person...I find it easier to insert myself without all the "he said, she said" nonsense).

Maybe it was the fact that it was difficult for me to decipher if we were in the past, present, or future (could also, again, have been the narrator's fault for not properly pausing if the pauses were built into the transcript).

Maybe it was because the book was more of a character development novel than something plot-driven (cue to that horrible mess of a book Catcher in the Rye...blech).

What Amazon says:
"Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio.  A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another."

"Gripping page turner" .... No, not quite.  In fact, I struggled with the urge to contact Audible to get a refund on this purchase. 

"Sensitive family portrait" ... yes, I'd agree with that.  It was beautifully written and you really do get a sense of the feelings each character is feeling (despite the narrator's ridiculous monotone voice that showed no sort of excitement or sorrow).

I'm not sure what exactly I was supposed to take away from this novel, but this is what I got:

Parents, stop pressuring your kids to do everything you wanted to do in life without noticing that your kids really have no interest at all.  Pay attention to your kids.  If something happens to your kid and you find out all kinds of things you never knew about said kid, then you weren't paying enough attention to THEM...you weren't really seeing or hearing them.  There has to be full transparency between a child and their parents.  At least one parent should be able to really listen to that child and understand what they're saying and asking for.  When you pressure your kids like that, that's when that kid gets to college and ends failing out and pregnant by the end of the first semester....or worse. And then you're left wondering "How did this happen?" only to find out that she had no friends, was hanging out with an older boy you didn't even know, and was secretly hoarding cigarettes and condoms.

Kids, stop trying to please your parents in every thing you do....it's OK to disappoint your parents in order to follow your own dreams and aspirations.  It's OK to tell them that you're not enjoying a subject or a sport that they're pushing on you.  It's OK to ask for help, even if you're afraid you'll disappoint.  Kids need to be made that they can feel comfortable when coming to their parents.  And if they don't, that's a problem.

A quote from the book (I actually wrote it down) that, to me, sums up the whole basis of the story:
"Attention came with expectations...that, like snow, drifted and settled and crushed you with their weight"

One thing that drove me nuts during the entire story was that we never find out WHY Lydia was the favorite child.  She was the middle child...nothing extraordinary about her circumstances...but for some reason, her parents fawned over her and ignored the other two children.  Little did they know that the oldest was counting down the days until he could get out of the house and out of the family and the youngest (the quiet little girl who sneaked around and pilfered things) knew and understood more than the others.

I also hated that nobody spoke up for themselves.  None of the characters explained themselves to the others...they all kept everything inside, buried down deep.  That kills me!  It wasn't until the very end when the youngest decided she would be the first to take an active role in making everyone else see the big picture.

Next, I'll be listening to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  It's supposedly enjoyed by those who liked Gone Girl (which, I might add, I LOVED).

Have a good day, folks!

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