I just finished, Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, that was on every Best of 2014 I read. The book blurb and reviews on Goodreads engaged me. So, I downloaded a sample to my trusty Kindle reader and started it as I finished the very satisfying, All the Light We Cannot See.
All the Light We Cannot See, was not an easy read. Two unique characters living through WW II on opposite sides- a blind French girl and young German orphan boy with great technical passion and talent. Interesting characters but war is never a romp in the park and that one in particular is never easy. But we were at the beach and it was well written and the characters, from their interesting vantage points carried me on a cloud of mystery. I forced myself to slow down and take digestive breaks.
As I finished I wanted a new book to continue to enlighten me and even though Ng begins her book sharing that a teenage girl will be found dead just as we begin the story, I didn’t hesitate to commit to the journey as the first sample chapter ended. But now I was home from the beach with lots of time, given the continuing snow falls and the deep freeze to keep reading. So I took my Kindle with me from room to room, to the gym and coffee spots and I was ready to slit my wrists( not really). By the mid point I was so down, I wondered if I could continue.
This book moves in a way I have come to love- from past to present, from character to character. I think it would drive Tuvia crazy, but I love the confusion, the challenges, the complexity of that non-linear view of life- telling the story in jigsaw style. But there’s so much sadness in this white/Asian family living in Ohio in the 1970’s. When James and Marilyn meet and marry in the late 50s in Boston, they believe that they can leave their sad pasts behind as they create a fresh, new family. But as readers we can’t be satisfied with a rosy road, right?
No, I kept reading and crying and thanks Celeste, for a resolution I could live with.
So I say on a morning with a fresh blanket of snow and a bit of sunshine, that it’s worth it and yes, I agree with those who have put this book on so many who applaud Ng’s first novel. We shouldn’t settle for the easy read for ourselves or for our students. I can’t get the images of these characters out of my mind and I don’t want to.
Okay, so what’s next for me? Recommendations?
Something different? I’m thinking maybe a political thriller? This one below, is inspired by Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and that series had me going for months.