“The things that go unsaid are often the things that eat at you—whether because you didn't get to have your say, or because the other person never got to hear you and really wanted to.”
When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.
This book was a little difficult for me to get through. It's about a fragile family dynamic. The Lee family is Asian-American, and the story takes place in the 1970s in a small town in Ohio. There is a lot of discrimination against Asians, and the Lee family puts a lot of their focus into Lydia, their middle (and favorite child). Lydia is the favorite because of some deep-rooted childhood trauma and a promise she made to herself to always do everything her mother asked her to. Because she doesn't look as "oriental" as her siblings, her father favors her because she can be popular and well-liked in ways that he was unable to.
As a parent, it was difficult to see the parents basically discarding their other children while favoring Lydia so much. It did make me take a good, hard look at my own relationship with my two children and wonder if I could be causing some of those same issues in them. So while it was difficult, I guess it was a good way of examining some of the things we do ourselves.
It is well-written and the characters are developed. There is not huge "plot twist" or crazy revelation, but a pretty nuanced layering of the characters. It was emotional, but not thrilling, if that makes any sense.
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