the walking writer

Title: “Everything I Never Told You”
Author: Celeste Ng

"Everything I Never Told You" Book Cover

By the time my hold at the library for this book was up, I had completely forgotten what it was about or why I wanted to read it. Instead of reading a summary to remind myself, I delved in and found myself sufficiently interested after just a few pages. “Everything I Never Told You” quickly grabs your attention by stating in the first line that one of the book’s character is already dead, unbeknownst to her family.

Due to the novel’s beginning, I was expecting a bit of a mystery, but much like another novel I recently read (“He’s Gone”), this book is really more about relationships between the characters. Throughout the book, we go into the past and back to the present as we learn more about the history, motivations and thoughts of the members of the Lee family. The writing flows relatively well, though the jumping back and forth between time periods does feel disjointed at times.

The story is very tragic in many regards, from the neglectful actions of the parents to the untimely death of Lydia. Although the book ends on a tentatively positive note, I was left feeling saddened and wondering if any of the characters really did learn anything; I could easily see a sequel about their bleak future. True change is difficult to come by, especially when the family was so entrenched in their attitudes towards each other and life.

Overall, the novel kept me interested until the very end, but I don’t really feel that the tragic beauty of this book will linger with me for long. If the parent’s actions had been more subtle and not unbelievably awful, I think there would have been lessons to be learned from this book as the characters would have been more relatable. As it was, I just found them too terrible to want to learn anything from. However, I will say that I would be interested in reading future books from the author. I think this is a strong debut novel from a new author, just not a favorite book of mine.

Over the weekend, I came down with an unpleasant cold that included some really awesome congestion. I felt so sick on Saturday that I couldn’t even find the strength to play video games. The only thing I could do was watch television while I desperately clung to a pile of Kleenexes. Fortunately, I came across “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” while I was browsing Netflix. Despite feeling horrible, I was soon laughing and thoroughly enjoying the show.

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

It’s the circle of life!

The Story

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” features a pretty basic storyline: due to a kidnapping and being trapped in a bunker for 15 years, a girl with little knowledge of the current world decides to find a new life in New York City. From her clothes to the way she talks, Kimmy is definitely stuck in the 90s. Her efforts to survive in an unfamiliar world without losing her exuberance is what makes the show so charming and funny.

My criticisms of the show are few and far between, however, I did feel that the last handful of episodes weren’t quite as good as the previous episodes. I think that the New York City episodes were far more entertaining and compelling. I had incorrectly assumed that a trial had already occurred and that we wouldn’t see any of the infamous Reverend. When you stop and think about it, the show has a very dark premise. Going back to Indiana for the trial reminded me of that, making the silliness of the trial a bit harder to swallow. The trial did setup some very interesting cliffhangers for the next season, however.

The Cast and Characters

Before watching the show, I wasn’t at all familiar with the starring actress, Ellie Kemper. She plays Kimmy incredibly well, pulling off a role that would be challenging for other actresses. There are times when the character is just a tad close to becoming annoying, but Kemper manages to keep Kimmy believable and endearing. I’m also not too familiar with most of the other cast, but the majority are very watchable and funny. The only character I found a bit annoying is Randy, who was just too stupid to really be all that funny.

The Intro Song

The show’s theme song is one of my favorite parts of the series. It’s easily one of the best theme songs for a show that I’ve ever heard. It’s catchy and hilarious.

The Moment that Hooked Me

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode, I didn’t really fall in love until a particular moment during the second episode. Titus remembers a time that he tried to stage his own production of The Lion King while using an orange tabby as a Simba replacement. That was the moment that cemented my love for the show, perhaps because I have done the same thing with my own cat!

Watch It!

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is definitely worth your time, especially if you like fish out of water stories and smart humor. The show made my illness a lot more bearable, giving evidence to the old saying that laughter really is the best medicine for whatever ails you. I can’t wait for the second season!

Plotting Evil?

What is going on here?

Unfortunately, I usually forget to take screenshots while I’m playing The Sims 4. However, I did manage to grab this one. I wonder what exactly is going on in her mind. Is she plotting how she can use that fire to burn down a building? Why is her hot dog an unusual shade? So many mysteries.