Schlafly Global Book Discussion Group discussion

Everything I Never Told You

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message 1: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments Wonderful writing, but I have to wonder whether it's true to life for EVERY person in the Lee family to avoid sharing any & all information, communication and emotion with every other family member. No one reaches out to Hannah, Nath keeps information from his parents, James & Marilyn appear to know almost nothing but surface facts about their 3 children, seeing in them only the reflection of their own dreams & desires.
And right now (end of chap. 3), I'd like to strangle James... And Marilyn...

message 2: by Z. (new)

Z. F. (zee_eff) Lucy wrote: "Wonderful writing, but I have to wonder whether it's true to life for EVERY person in the Lee family to avoid sharing any & all information, communication and emotion with every other family member..."

I've been questioning some of the secret-keeping as well. It does seem odd that Nath and Hannah would would withhold such potentially helpful information about Lydia's life and the night she died, regardless of how guilty they might feel about it. But I suppose there wouldn't be much of a mystery to unravel if everyone confessed what they knew right away...

message 3: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments The mystery, if there is one, is beside the point. What Ng is aiming for is a pitiless, microscopic examination of surely the most dysfunctional and unhappy family in existence. Except I don't believe they could exist -- no two people with such unhappy backgrounds and unresolved hangups could meet, marry and proceed to give their own kids even unhappier childhoods. Never an opportunity missed to misunderstand someone else's motive, meaning or intent, no chance to unconsciously wound passed up. Not real.

message 4: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments Zach and I may be the only two reading this bk -- where is everyone?!
Anyway, loved the ending.

message 5: by Anne (new)

Anne | 85 comments I read this book a bit ago and didn’t like it much. I won’t be there Thursday because we’re having this kid in the next 24 hours whether he likes it or not! Hope you all have a good discussion and I’ll hopefully see you next month 😬

message 6: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments Oh, Anne -- bless you & John, the boys and Baby-to-be! We'll miss you Thurs, but send all good thoughts your way.
Sometime when you're not busy (it is to laugh, as the French say), I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book.

message 7: by Vera (new)

Vera Emmons | 25 comments I'm reading it! I like it. It seems a bit contrived, but it sure did keep me interested! I'm bringing snacks. Please let me know if it's not my month.

message 8: by Zachary (new)

Zachary (z_reader) | 32 comments I’m not done, but this book has been exhausting.

message 9: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Dexter (robynedexter) | 4 comments Going to have to second Zach. I enjoyed Ng's writing (I even read Little Fires Everywhere right afterwards!) but the characters in this book were downright exhausting. What a difficult family dynamic.

message 10: by Z. (new)

Z. F. (zee_eff) I've still got a chapter or two to go, but I'll echo the general sentiment. Definitely a bleak book, with no love lost between any of the Lees. Some of the characterization feels a bit flat to me, but I agree that the writing is very polished and Ng's ability to switch fluidly between points of view is impressive. I look forward to discussing in more depth tomorrow!

(Also, Vera, I do have you down for snacks this month!)

message 11: by Gabriela (new)

Gabriela Eaglesome | 40 comments What happened to my comment from June 19 th or so....lost, I guess.

message 12: by Zachary (last edited Jun 28, 2018 12:50PM) (new)

Zachary (z_reader) | 32 comments The phone call between Nath and Lydia (while Nath was at Harvard) was the only conversation in the whole book that seemed possible to me. The rest felt like a nightmare Ng dreamed and had to write down.

message 13: by Zachary (new)

Zachary (z_reader) | 32 comments Looks like this storm might keep some of us home. If it passes quickly we’ll be coming in. Stay safe!

message 14: by Z. (new)

Z. F. (zee_eff) Prioritize safety! We’ve got everyone taking cover in the auditorium right now. I’ll try to give everyone sufficient warning if we end up canceling.

message 15: by Z. (new)

Z. F. (zee_eff) The tornado warning has passed, and I’ll be here regardless, so feel free to come in if you can manage. If not, I don’t blame you.

message 16: by Gabriela (new)

Gabriela Eaglesome | 40 comments Sorry to miss the discussion. The storm would not have kept me away if it hadn’t been for the heavy winds, tornado warning, potential power outages....I whimped out!

message 17: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments We five had a good discussion. Missed everybody -- see you next month for Hillbilly Elegy.

message 18: by Gabriela (last edited Jul 02, 2018 06:42PM) (new)

Gabriela Eaglesome | 40 comments Can you give me some pointers as to the discussion about “Everything”? I am sorry I missed it, because my parents were immigrants and my dad was a professor. We had no suicides, fortunately, but plenty of culture clash and struggles with fitting in, even with no diiscernable difference in appearance. I liked how the book pointed out how everyone's communication or rather lack of it contributed to their misery. I think everyone has secrets, though, and sometimes they are better kept that way. The trick is to decide what to confide and what to keep to yourself....not so easy. Often, when your parents die, it’s easier to open up and explain more to siblings. There is a lot of pressure to meet the parent’s
expectations, if that factor is lifted, you can often be more free to admit things to your siblings. I think of the Tolstoy quote about happy families being alike and unhappy families being unhappy in their own way. It’s hard to describe the unhappiness so that others understand and accept it. The teller of the tale can never be satisfied that the other person empathizes enough. I think it was a valliant effort on the part of the author.

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