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Everything I Never Told You by Ajay K Pandey PDF Download


Everything I Never Told You by Ajay K Pandey

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Everything I Never Told You by Ajay K Pandey PDF

Details of Everything I Never Told You  Book

  • Book Name: Everything I Never Told You 
  • Authors: Ajay K Pandey 
  • Pages: 216
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publish Date: 18 November 2020
  • Language: English

Book Review:

Everything I Never Told You by Ajay K Pandey in this book, James and Marilyn Lee, are Chinese and White, respectively. The story opens up with an immediate problem (a pretty serious problem) and a bit of a mystery … the Lee family’s daughter and middle child of three, Lydia, is dead. 

This isn’t a spoiler – it’s revealed in the first sentence of the book – but I will take this opportunity to just mention that I’ll avoid spoilers for the first half of the interview, and then get into a few at the end, at which point I’ll give you a warning so you can cut it off if you want to read it yourself. 

The police suspect suicide, but the parents are skeptical – why would this popular, successful girl have taken her own life, with a promising college life and career ahead of her so soon? So they begin investigating for signs of foul play… OK but let me just pause here for a second and say that regardless of what you hear elsewhere, there are some elements of mystery at the beginning of this book, I mean the atmosphere is there, but this book is not a mystery or a crime investigation novel. 

It’s a character study of family dynamics, with a little bit of an underlying mystery in the background, but it’s going to be pretty clear to readers what’s happened by about a quarter of the way through the book. So don’t get your hopes up for some wild twists and meandering murder investigation or anything like that, that’s just not what this book is, nor does it try to be that. 

Everything I Never Told You suffers much less from the flaws I saw in Little Fires Everywhere. They’re pretty much all still present to a minor extent, but in a way that didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the story too much … and I did enjoy this story. 

For example, we’re still following quite a few different characters, but here there are two characters that really receive the spotlight – there’s the daughter Lydia who has died, whose past we’re learning about, and her elder brother Nath, who seems to be the only one who really knew Lydia on a personal level. 

And these two characters and the dynamics between them were the strongest characterization in the novel. On the other hand, there are still a lot of other important but peripheral characters, most prominently the Lee parents, James and Marilyn, who feel less developed, which is a bit of a bummer since they could have had really interesting stories but instead begin to start sounding like broken records by the end of the book. 

This is too bad since I found both of them interesting at the start, but for the amount of time they feature in the novel, and since we have access to some of their internal thoughts through the narration style, they really needed deeper development than what they received, especially in the second half of the novel. 

I think I’ll hold off and say a bit more about that in a bit, because it would involve a few mild spoilers to be more explicit about this … but this is one of the main criticisms that reviewers expressed on Goodreads, and one that I agree with although it didn’t bother me quite as much as for everyone. 

Because for me the story was always more about the Lee children … like, the fact that the parents sometime came across … actually a lot of the time came across as nagging, always saying the same thing over and over and over again, felt strangely appropriate since that’s how parents often sound to their children. 

But also, I think that aspect would have worked better if the narration style centered more obviously on the children’s point of view. I mean, make no mistake, they are the real “center” of this novel, but because of the way Celeste Ng narrates this story, the narrator is a sort of omniscient presence that attaches itself to certain characters’ thoughts for a while and then meanders to another character, often even within the same scene. 

I actually quite liked this style and thought Ng accomplished it skillfully within the scenes themselves, but it leads to a few complications like this one I just mentioned where normally we could argue that the not-super-complex parents we’re seeing are just the parents as seen by the children, but this is contradicted by the very fact that we’re actually seeing the parents’ internal thoughts at some points. 

Similarly, I found that sometimes this novel did lack subtlety in the same way as Little Fires Everywhere, but this time it wasn’t in ways or with characters that were so essential to my understanding or enjoyment of the story that it really irked me to the extent that it did in Little Fires Everywhere. 

At the end of the day, this book was enjoyable to read … quite average, about what we might expect from a book of its type. It’s nothing too adventurous, but it’s pretty well-written and it stood out to me for the way it explores the experience of being an Asian American in an environment where being Asian American really makes you stand out. 

Sure, this exploration could have gone a lot deeper, but it also at least isn’t really a book that pretends to go deeper than it actually does. And that gets at one of the aspects that I find most challenging in reflecting about this book … this feels like a book that aspires to be literary fiction, but also is fairly content with being not that “literary”. 

I’m sorry I don’t really know how to articulate that, and it maybe sounds like I’m insulting the book … but that’s not what I’m trying to do. What I mean is, if you think of a book like The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, which I read recently, or Swing Time by Zadie Smith, these books fit squarely within the genre of literary fiction. They explore a lot of themes with a lot of subtlety in ways that feel almost incidental at times because it’s not like there are these strikingly obvious themes or “points” or messages of the story that stand out. 

Everyone will read those books and find that pretty different things stand out to them, as I observed when watching reviews of The Dutch House recently. And they won’t necessarily interpret the book as having a particular “message” the author meant to convey … the “message” if any will be some fusion of the writer’s emphasis with the reader’s own experiences.