Another library book
Very Brief Summary
It’s 1977 and Lydia, the daughter of an interracial couple (Chinese and American) is found drowned at the bottom of the town lake. The book starts with her disappearance and then intersperses flashbacks to when her parents met, to her mother’s abandonment a decade earlier, and finally to Lydia herself in the months prior to her death and we discover what happened.
Well Written – That’s almost an understatement. The writing is gorgeous. I could see and feel everything the characters did. Celeste Ng does did an amazing job of putting me into the head of every character.
Three Dimensional Characters – My heart broke for every character. With the exception of Hannah (the youngest) they all had secrets that lead to Lydia’s untimely death. Each were flawed but trying. I cared deeply for James, Marilyn, Nath, Lydia, and Hannah.
Relationship Baggage – While frustrating, this novel clearly illustrated how much each character’s personal baggage affected how they related and communicated with each other. None of it felt insincere (like a misunderstanding plot device). Everything they withhold from each other is due to totally believable insecurities developed during their formative years.
Slow Start – This only a note from my personal reading experience. I started this on the day it was due back at the library. There were only 22 people waiting to read it so no pressure. Since the beginning of the book starts with Lydia’s disappearance and death and so much of the story requires understanding each character’s background story, it took me awhile to get into it. I wish I had started it without the time crunch. I almost gave up 72 pages in, but by halfway through I could not put it down.
I wish I was still in a book club because I’d love to discuss this book. I don’t think this is a likely re-read; there’s just too much grief, but I think it will stick with me with the single read.