Book Club: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG

never told you

The Young Professionals group in our small college town decided that we needed to do other events besides happy hour. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a nice glass of wine and conversation after work but we can have other environments where we can get to know each other. Of course, I absolutely jumped on board with a book club. My friend Michael took the lead and sent out a list of popular book club picks and lo and behold, Everything I Never Told You was our choice.

We gathered in a living room, snacks and apps in hand, and the first Young Professionals book club was off and running. Started with introductions, a brief synopsis, and then responding to the question, “What did everyone think?” Having this as an opener led us in so many different directions and a great conversation. Some general themes we discussed were

  • Who the “I” and the “You” referred to in the title
  • Nonlinear storytelling
  • Never really knowing who another person is, especially family
  • Interpreting the same event/statement in 2 different ways
  • The secret life of children
  • Blending in vs. breaking expectations
  • Emotional intimacy vs. Chemistry/Physicality
  • Identity
  • Lack of communication, burying the past/mistakes

I wish I could communicate the depth and breadth of our conversation – I am definitely not doing it justice. There were some times where I didn’t want to speak but take in the atmosphere of the room and the brilliance and intellect from my peers.

My personal immediate reactions before attending book club was that it was not what I expected whatsoever. I anticipated a murder mystery but instead the book started right off with Lydia was dead. Boom. We know the result even before we get into characters. However, the backstory and interpersonal relationships and lack thereof were powerful and unexpected. The death was an event in the story but who the family is as a unit as well as individually made the death look not as important. Additionally, I related to the biracial piece, granted the cultures and decade are completely different.

I found this kickoff quite successful and am anticipating even deeper and more rich book discussions in the future. Having different perspectives and relating to various parts of the book resulted in a phenomenal conversation.

Cheers to the next book club at the end of May – The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson!

group book club

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