Saturday, April 25, 2015

Readathon- April 25th

I will update this post throughout the day . . . .

Hour 8 Update
Finally my first book is done! I finished Silver Girl by Elin Hildebrand (about 156 pages read - I had already started this one).  Other than that, I took a walk to donate some books at the Book Cellar (and picked up a few books - couldn't resist!)   I also stopped off at the Farmer's Market on the way home for some berries to have with yogurt as a snack plus some vegetables for dinner later.  While out on this excursion, I listened to The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar.  Felt good to get outside in the fresh air and to move (I got about 5,000 steps in so will need another walk later to reach my 10K for the day)

Now I am moving on to Her Name is Rose by Christine Breen - this is another book I had already started and will see if I can polish it off during the Readathon.

How is your Readathon going?

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 
NYC - a cold NYC, I will add.  38 degrees at 8 am at the end of April!!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? 
Looking forward to finally finishing Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand - I started it over a month ago but have been flitting between other books.  This one is light and a great pick for the readathon so I am going to polish it off this morning.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? 
Already fired up the espresso maker and had my first latte - looking forward to delicious caffeine infusions!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! 
I have been blogging for almost 6 years (wow)! and though I have flagged a bit with blogging of late, I do love the readathon and am glad to participate again this year,

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
More movement - by the end of a day of just sitting still things start to ache so I am going to make an effort to move as much as possible.  My dog will need walking so I plan to get out a few times for a little while and bring an audiobook along.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Audiobook Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (narrated by Cassandra Clare; 10 hours, 1 minute) tells the story of the mixed race family, the Lee's, who live in suburban Ohio in the 1970's. As the book opens, the family has discovered that Lydia, the middle child and oldest daughter, is missing. When her body is discovered two days later in the nearby lake each family member begins to unwind their history and to try to make sense of the tragedy. With each family member's unwinding, the reader learns all that went unsaid and misunderstood between these family members and how it all combined to crush Lydia.

James Lee, the son of immigrants, attended a prestigious prep school at which his father worked as a janitor. Decidedly out of place due to his race and socioeconomic class, James longed to fit in but never quite achieved it. While at Harvard, he met Marilyn - a young, beautiful student with ambition to do more than just satisfy her mother's dream for her - to become a wife. Marilyn wanted to challenge her mother's and other's expectations of her and to become a doctor. She defied her mother's expectations once again when she fell in love with James, an Asian man at a time when mixed race marriages were still illegal in many states. Despite this and maybe a little due to her need to defy her mother, Marilyn marries James and becomes a young mother when their son, Nath, is born. With the arrival of motherhood, Marilyn places her dreams of being a doctor on a shelf but not without some regret and even resentment. With the arrival of the Lee's second child, Lydia, Marilyn sees a vessel for her own shelved dreams and begins to prepare her daughter to become a doctor. Meanwhile, James, pushes her to be popular and to "fit in" - no one asks or assesses what Lydia might want.

Lydia is uncomfortable with her status of favored child and the pressure of living out both of her parents' own dreams. Despite Nath's occasional resentment of his younger sister and the attention of their parents which she commands, the siblings are close and depend on each other to understand their unique family dynamic as only siblings can. The Lee's youngest child, Hannah, is almost the forgotten sibling - conceived at a time when her parents were going through a difficult time and born into a family preoccupied with their own issues, Hannah moves through the household largely unnoticed. From this hidden vantage point, Hannah sees things the other family member's miss - she takes precious belongings from each family member and through them learns what is important to them. She may not always understand the insights her observations offer but she does see things most family members miss. Her insights into Lydia are especially revealing as they all deal with her disappearance and death.

My Thoughts
This intelligent, debut novel tells a tragic story  - and not just the tragedy of a drowned sixteen year old. The real tragedy is how little the parents know about their own children and vice versa. Clouded by the need to see their dreams lived through their children, James and Marilyn never really see their own children or their needs. They give them what they think they need but repeatedly miss the mark. In much the same way, although more understandable since they are children, the Lee children don't know what drives their parents to push them they way they do. Everyone is moving through life propelled by desires they don't understand or acknowledge. The result is the story of a dysfunctional family which fascinates. Cassandra Campbell is a favorite narrator of mine and does an excellent job with this book.  Definitely recommend (the book and the audio production!)