Contemporary U.S. Literature

Everything I Never Told You

August 6, 2018

This novel was picked for the first-year program’s common read at my university. So of course I also imposed this as a common read pick for the three-family beach-house week at Surf City, NC. This week is pretty much the one week of the summer I unplug and don’t do any work. Except for the times when I bring a new textbook to look over, or when I bring a partial essay draft to complete, or… well you get the picture. I almost never unplug. Which is why you have me bringing common read homework to beach week… Anyway, one participant found this book so engrossing that she read it in three days. Not that the book is very long, but this particular participant is a doctor and a mother, so… that seems like pretty swift reading to me. This reader reported to the rest of us that the book is SUPER depressing. So that’s what I expected, going in. It’s about a high school girl’s possible suicide. That, combined with the drama of inter-racial marriages in the 1970s and mother-daughter tension based in Betty Crocker vs. STEM field futures. I found the book kind of depressing but not really all that engaging, either. I felt like I was supposed to be depressed, but I didn’t like any of the characters enough to actually empathize. I kept wondering why the author decided to write this story. The writing itself is fine, but not compelling enough to quote. Wow this is beginning to sound like a pretty harsh review!

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