This wasn’t very good.
Oh, I have to keep going?
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.”
Lydia Lee, the prodigal daughter of James & Marilyn, goes missing at the beginning of the book and we quickly discover she has died. James, a Chinese immigrant teacher, and Marilyn, a white former medical student, have thrust a lot of their lost desires on their daughter. James wants her to have friends and fit in while Marilyn, who left school when James got her pregnant, wants her daughter to be the doctor she never got to be. They’re both pretty awful. Nath, Lydia’s older brother, is Harvard bound and knows that his sister snuck out with Jack, a classmate he hates for vague & petty reasons, but chooses not to tell his parents or the cops. And then there is Hannah, a superfluous third child.
We get some flashbacks to when Marilyn and James met- which was not romantic!!! He was her teacher!!! But their love was forbidden for other reasons since it was back when interracial marriage was still illegal in some states and Chinese people were a rarity. So I guess we’re supposed to find it romantic? Anyway, Marilyn gave up her dreams and deeply resented her husband to the point of leaving him at one point which seriously screwed her kids up.
And Lydia was awful. She seems so entitled. I mean, sure she is seventeen and most teenagers are awful, but I just could not with her attitude. The not studying and not wanting to be a doctor were frustrating but not the worst part of her teenage angst. I hated her selfishness. She was so desperate to leave her hometown but when her brother has the opportunity to leave for college, for Harvard for God’s sake, she hides his acceptance letters! Guess Lydia is the only person who gets to hope to leave?
This could have been good. It could have been a deep character study, a thriller or whodunit mystery. Instead I hated all the characters and the ending falls flat.