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Listening to the Silence

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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng

Secrets can kill. Not just the big ones, but the little ones that we live with everyday. They have a way of dragging you down like a weight, and if you can't let them go they will pull you to the bottom until you no longer have the ability escape. This book is a story of secrets. Marilyn can't escape her dissatisfaction with how her life turned out, James longs to be just like everyone else and not the perpetual outsider, Nath just wants to escape, Hannah craves love and affection but has learned that invisibility is her lot in life, and Lydia is searching for freedom from all the expectations and the suffocating love her parents have placed on her young shoulders. These are the secrets that haunt the Lee family, the secrets that Lydia can't escape, because Lydia is dead.


I absolutely love this book, though I found it incredibly difficult to read from an emotional stand point. I know that not everyone will be able to understand this book. Some people are lucky enough to grow up in families that are close, loving, and able to communicate their feelings. These are the families that don't harbor secret pains and disappointments. The Lee family is not one of those families. Neither was mine. I related to this story on a visceral level. The feeling you are the perpetual outsider, the desire to escape, being suffocated under unrealistic expectations are all familiar to me. I still struggle with these emotions daily, only now I get to add a struggle with my life not turning out as I planned to the mix. My family's secrets turned out much the same way, though instead of killing her at 16, my sister's secrets killed her at 40. As I said, this book was all to relatable.


The language of the book was straightforward, though the story jumped back and forth in time, slowly teasing out the story, revealing bit by bit the events that brought the Lee family to this point. I fully appreciated this use of style. Had it been written in a linear timeline the impact and suspense would have been lessened. The style also added to the character development, knowing how each member of the Lee family came to to be the person they were added to their depth and realism. 


Though not everyone will be able to appreciate this book in the same fashion as I do, I still recommend it without reserve. It is a moving and suspenseful portrait of a family and well deserving of all the attention it has received.