Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication Date: 2014
Page Count: 292
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"Lydia is dead. But they don't know that yet." From the first line, this novel promises to tell a story filled with love and grief. The Lee family lives in Ohio in the 1970's, and is a mixed family. James is Chinese and his wife Marilyn is white. This novel chronicles the private and shared conflicts and relationships of the Lee family while they deal with the grief from the death of the middle, and favored child, Lydia.
I had been hearing a lot about this book and was eager to pick it up since its release last year. I looked everywhere for a copy of the paperback once it came out but couldn't track it down, and when I did it was so expensive that I couldn't bring myself to buy it. Then I was lucky enough to find a used copy at my local bookstore and snatched it up and read it right away and I'm so glad I did.
I really like books like examine family relationships, but especially books that take a close look at sibling relationships. This novel does an excellent job of doing both. The Lee family is far from perfect and their relationships with each other and themselves are complicated. I admired that this book was honest about sibling relationships and didn't have that squeaky-clean ending where the siblings have an epiphany moment and are of one mind and one body. Other people will always be a mystery to us, and even though you might feel like you know someone, there can be a whole existing inside of them that you never knew about.
I also loved the added element of the Lee family being a mixed family in the 1970's. The prejudice that the whole family faced was heartbreaking and added strain to their relationships. Ng's writing is smooth and captivating, and I found myself getting lost in this book for hours at a time without even realizing.
I highly recommend this novel, even if adult fiction isn't usually your cup of tea. I really loved seeing the dynamics of the Lee family and thought all of the characters were real and developed and the story was extremely engaging.