Everything I Never Told You

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Lydia Lee Character Analysis

Lydia is the middle daughter of James and Marilyn. At the beginning of the book, she has just died at the age of 16; after a few days, her body is discovered at the bottom of a nearby lake, and the rest of the narrative describes her family’s unfolding understanding of the cause of her death. To her parents, Lydia is docile and easy to please. Marilyn believes she wants to be a doctor and James thinks she has a close group of girlfriends—in reality, Lydia is a loner who struggles in her classes. She is the only non-white girl in her school, although she has inherited her mother’s blue eyes. Her only real friend is Jack Wolff, with whom she skips school and smokes cigarettes and who she (unsuccessfully) tries to persuade to have sex with her. Lydia has a close (if tormented) relationship with her older brother, Nath; once, Nath almost drowned her by pushing her into the lake, and when Nath gets into Harvard Lydia hides his acceptance letter. Officer Fiske ultimately rules Lydia’s death a suicide, though it is difficult to determine whether Lydia intended to die. Rowing out into the lake, she tells herself that she intends to return to the shore, yet she jumps in knowing that she can’t swim.

Lydia Lee Quotes in Everything I Never Told You

The Everything I Never Told You quotes below are all either spoken by Lydia Lee or refer to Lydia Lee. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Appearances vs. Disappearances Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Everything I Never Told You published in 2015.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Upstairs, Marilyn opens her daughter's door and sees the bed unslept in: neat hospital corners still pleated beneath the comforter, pillow still fluffed and convex. Nothing seems out of place. Mustard-colored corduroys tangled on the floor, a single rainbow-striped sock. A row of science fair ribbons on

the wall, a postcard of Einstein. Lydia's duffel bag crumpled on the floor of the closet. Lydia's green book bag slouched against her desk. Lydia's bottle of Baby Soft atop the dresser, a sweet, powdery, loved-baby scent still in the air. But no Lydia.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Marilyn Lee
Related Symbols: Lydia’s “Baby Soft” Perfume
Page Number: 1-2
Explanation and Analysis:

It is a normal morning at the Lee house, but Lydia has failed to come down to breakfast. The reader knows that she is dead, but her family does not. Lydia’s mother, Marilyn, has gone up to look for Lydia in her room, and in this passage she sees everything in its place but no sign of Lydia herself. The description of Lydia’s bedroom gives an impression of Lydia’s life and personality, even before she has personally appeared on the page. The “rainbow-striped sock” and book bag convey that she is still young, an impression emphasized by the “loved-baby scent” of her perfume. Meanwhile, the “neat hospital corners” of Lydia’s bed and “row of science ribbons” on the wall evoke someone who is disciplined and accomplished.

However, Lydia’s bedroom and belongings only give a partial portrait of who she really is. There is clearly information missing, made obvious by the fact that Lydia herself is not there. Indeed, her mysterious absence seems to contradict the image of her as both youthfully innocent and a disciplined, dutiful student. This contrast introduces the discrepancies between appearances and reality that occur throughout the book, as well as the tension between appearances and disappearances. If Lydia’s life is as ordinary and orderly as it seems, why has she mysteriously vanished?

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Chapter 3 Quotes

Marilyn, unaware that her youngest is listening so closely, so longingly, blots her eyes and replaces the diaries on the shelf and makes herself a promise. She will figure out what happened to Lydia. She will find out who is responsible. She will find out what went wrong.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Marilyn Lee, Hannah Lee
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

In an attempt to understand what happened to Lydia, Marilyn has searched through Lydia’s bedroom and opened the series of diaries that Marilyn has been giving Lydia since she was five years old. However, Marilyn was surprised to find all of them blank. The blank diaries have a double significance. First, the fact that Marilyn has consistently given Lydia a gift that Lydia hasn’t ever used underscores the discrepancy between Marilyn’s desires for Lydia’s life and Lydia’s own ideas about herself (the blank diaries also suggest that Lydia might not know herself well enough to reflect on who she is, perhaps a result of Marilyn’s overbearing influence). Second, the fact that the diaries (which should reveal Lydia’s innermost thoughts) are blank shows that Lydia is going to remain a mystery to Marilyn, a mystery that Marilyn is determined to resolve. Yet this passage indicates that Marilyn may be less adept at understanding the world around her than she’d hoped. Marilyn assumes that there is someone who is “responsible” for Lydia’s death, but there is no evidence that an external party was to blame. Meanwhile, as Marilyn sits in Lydia’s bedroom, she doesn’t notice Hannah “listening so closely,” a detail that highlights the way in which Marilyn is blind to things that are immediately in front of her.

Chapter 4 Quotes

When Nath had been born, then Lydia, Marilyn had not informed her mother, had not even sent a photograph. What was there to say? She and James had never discussed what her mother had said about their marriage that last day: it's not right. She had not ever wanted to think of it again. So when James came home that night, she said simply, "My mother died." Then she turned back to the stove and added, "And the lawn needs mowing," and he understood: they would not talk about it.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Marilyn Lee, James Lee, Nath Lee, Doris Walker
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

After Doris’ disapproving comments at Marilyn and James’ wedding, Marilyn never talks to her mother again, and when Nath and Lydia are young children, she gets a call informing her that Doris has died of a stroke. This passage describes Marilyn’s reaction to her mother’s death, revealing Marilyn’s profound and sustained anger at Doris. It also illustrates the extent to which Marilyn shuts out the memory of her mother. Not only does she never speak to Doris again, but she also refuses to mention Doris to James and the children. Marilyn enters a state of denial about her mother, making Doris “disappear” from her life even before she is actually dead.

Early in their relationship, Marilyn and James establish a pact not to discuss the past, and this mutual understanding brings them closer together. However, the novel calls into question how sustainable such a pact could be, since it involves such extreme suppression. Not only does Marilyn cut off Doris completely, she also prohibits any opportunity for her children to know their own grandmother. Although this specific instance arguably prevents the children from the possibility of experiencing racism at the hands of their own grandmother, Marilyn’s repression and silence are part of a behavioral pattern that ultimately comes to have a damaging impact on the Lee family.

Chapter 5 Quotes

The story––as it emerges from the teachers and the kids at school––is so

obvious. Lydia's quietness, her lack of friends. Her recent sinking grades. And, in truth, the strangeness of her family. A family with no friends, a family of misfits. All this shines so brightly that, in the eyes of the police, Jack falls into shadow. A girl like that and a boy like him, who can have––does have––any girl he wants? It is impossible for them to imagine what Nath knows to be true, let alone what he himself imagines.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Nath Lee, Jack Wolff
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

The police have told the Lee family that, although they are still investigating, there is no evidence that anyone else was involved with Lydia’s death. James thanks them, but both Marilyn and Nath are dissatisfied. Marilyn insists that a “psycho” must have killed Lydia, whereas Nath is convinced that Jack Wolff is to blame. Unlike his parents, Nath has a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of Lydia’s life, including other people’s perceptions of her. He thus understands why the police believe that Lydia committed suicide, even as he disagrees with this interpretation. Nath’s commitment to his own theory about Lydia’s death shows the extent to which people tend to cling to their own interpretations of the world, even when it conflicts with the views of everyone else.

This passage also highlights how the Lee’s racial difference alienates them from the Middlewood community. The phrase “family of misfits” suggests that people see the Lee family as internally mismatched and that this, in turn, makes them at odds with the world around them.

Chapter 6 Quotes

The summer Lydia fell in the lake, the summer Marilyn went missing: all of them had tried to forget it. They did not talk about it; they never mentioned it. But it lingered, like a bad smell. It had suffused them so deeply it could never

wash out.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Marilyn Lee
Related Symbols: Water/Swimming/the Lake
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the opening passage to Chapter 6. At the end of the previous chapter, Nath told Hannah that Lydia fell in the lake once before and when Hannah said she couldn’t remember that happening, Nath explained that it was before Hannah was born. In this passage, the narrator makes an explicit connection between two disappearances: Marilyn’s flight to Toledo and Lydia’s far briefer “disappearance” into the water. Although the details of these events have yet to be revealed, it is clear that they are traumatic memories that the Lees have attempted to suppress in order to maintain the appearance of happiness and normalcy.

However, as the narrator’s words suggest, the attempt to suppress these memories is inherently doomed. Even though the Lee family does not talk about Marilyn and Lydia’s disappearances, these events have become a part of them. Denying the fact that they happened thus becomes a way of denying who they really are as a family.

She followed him all the way to the lake and to the end of the little pier. The houses on the other side of the water looked like dollhouses, tiny and scaled-down and perfect. Inside, mothers were boiling eggs or baking cakes or making pot roasts, or maybe fathers were poking the coals in the barbecue,

turning the hot dogs with a fork so that the grill made perfect black lines all over. Those mothers had never gone far away and left their children behind. Those fathers had never slapped their children or kicked over the television or laughed at them.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Marilyn Lee, James Lee, Nath Lee
Related Symbols: Water/Swimming/the Lake, Eggs
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

James has driven Marilyn back to Toledo to collect her belongings from the apartment she’d been renting, leaving Nath and Lydia with Mrs. Allen, who promptly falls asleep in front of the television, leaving the children to wander off to the lake unaccompanied. This passage describes what Nath and Lydia can see when they gaze across the lake—rows of “dollhouses” in which the children imagine happy families free of abnormality and strife. Note that this domestic happiness is imagined in terms of food, a recurrent theme throughout the book. Although making eggs and grilling hot dogs are simple, everyday acts, they represent the stability, care, and normalcy that are missing from Nath and Lydia’s lives.

The fact that the houses are on the other side of the lake emphasizes the notion that the Lees are barred from accessing this happiness and normalcy by a mysterious and powerful force. However, this distance also means that Nath and Lydia do not see the real truth of the lives of the people who live on the other side of the lake. Although the houses look idyllic from a distance, this appearance could be deceiving. In all likelihood, the families in those houses may be suffering from similar problems to the Lees.

Chapter 7 Quotes

He must really hate Nath, Lydia thought. As much as Nath hates him. She imagined them in class together all these years: Nath sitting close to the front, notebook out, one hand rubbing the little furrow between his eyebrows, the way he did when he was thinking hard. Utterly focused, oblivious to everything else, the answer right there, sealed inside his mouth. And Jack?

Jack would be sprawled in the back corner, shirt untucked, one leg stretched into the aisle. So comfortable. So certain of himself. Not worried about what anyone thought. No wonder they couldn't stand each other.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Nath Lee, Jack Wolff
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

Lydia has decided to befriend Jack Wolff in an attempt to upset Nath. When she first strikes up a conversation with Jack, he is skeptical and confused that Lydia (whom he sees as innocent and prim) is asking for a cigarette and claiming she doesn’t care about physics. Jack suggests that Lydia stay away from him in case he ruins her chances of getting into Harvard like Nath. Lydia interprets this as evidence that Jack hates Nath and she envisions the two of them sitting in class together. To Lydia, the two boys are opposites: Nath is smart, hard-working, and socially “oblivious,” while Jack is a careless, confident bad boy.

Of course, in reality this is not true, yet Lydia fails to critically examine what lies beneath appearances. This is ironic, as she has just spent a whole conversation trying to persuade Jack that she is not as uptight and innocent as she seems.

Chapter 8 Quotes

It happened so quickly that if she were a different person, Hannah might have wondered if she'd imagined it. No one else saw. Nath was still turned away; Lydia had her eyes shut now against the sun. But the moment flashed lightning-bright to Hannah. Years of yearning had made her sensitive, the way a starving dog twitches its nostrils at the faintest scent of food. She could not mistake it. She recognized it at once: love, one-way deep adoration that bounced off and did not bounce back; careful, quiet love that didn't care and went on anyway. It was too familiar to be surprising. Something deep inside her stretched out and curled around Jack like a shawl, but he didn't notice.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Nath Lee, Hannah Lee, Jack Wolff
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:

Nath, Lydia, and Hannah are at the lake. Nath has been swimming, and Hannah has been sitting with Lydia on the shore while Lydia sunbathes. Jack comes to sit with Lydia, at which point Nath walks over and sits between them, behaving rudely to Jack and telling Lydia that she’s burning. Meanwhile, a small droplet of water falls from Nath’s hair into Jack’s hand, and—although no one else notices—Hannah sees him tenderly kiss it. The fact that Hannah has been excluded and forgotten throughout her life has made her perceptive, especially to other people’s feelings of unrequited desire for love.

This sets Hannah apart from the other characters; whereas their experience of marginalization makes them take out their own insecurities and disappointment on others, Hannah’s isolation makes her feel closer and more sympathetic to those around her. In addition, while the other members of her family often misunderstand and misread other people’s feelings, Hannah is able to recognize Jack’s love for Nath with startling accuracy. On the other hand, her shyness prevents her from expressing this knowledge, and thus her sympathy with Jack remains confined to her own mind.

Chapter 10 Quotes

“I didn't care. I knew what I wanted. I was going to be a doctor." She glares at James, as if he has contradicted her. “Then—fortunately—l came to my senses. I stopped trying to be different. I did just what all the other girls were

doing. I got married. I gave all that up." A thick bitterness coats her tongue. "Do what everyone else is doing. That's all you ever said to Lydia. Make friends. Fit in. But I didn't want her to be just like everyone else." The rims of her eyes ignite. "I wanted her to be exceptional."

Related Characters: Marilyn Lee (speaker), Lydia Lee, James Lee
Related Symbols: Doctors
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

The argument that began about James’ affair has escalated into a discussion of why both James and Marilyn feel dissatisfied with their life together. James has accused Marilyn of not truly understanding what it feels like to be socially marginalized, and Marilyn has replied that she experienced marginalization constantly as a female science student at Radcliffe. In this passage, she argues that this exclusion didn’t matter to her, because she was so fixated on her goal of becoming a doctor. Her words suggest that she blames James not only for ruining her own ambitions, but also for ruining Lydia’s. James’ pressure on Lydia to “fit in” directly contradicted Marilyn’s desire for her to stand out as an exceptional student and future doctor.

For the first time, James and Marilyn acknowledge that the pressures they put on Lydia pulled her in completely different directions. Although they do not say so explicitly here, the implication of this is that they are in some way responsible for Lydia’s feelings of sadness and alienation and, by extension, for her death. However, while Marilyn positions herself as an innocent party who simply wanted the best for Lydia, this does not, of course, represent the whole truth. In reality, both James and Marilyn put unjust and unwarranted pressure on Lydia and both of them made Lydia feel as if there was no way to be herself without disappointing them.

Chapter 11 Quotes

That long-ago day, sitting in this very spot on the dock, she had already begun to feel it: how hard it would be to inherit their parents' dreams. How suffocating to be so loved. She had felt Nath's hands on her shoulders and been almost grateful to fall forward, to let herself sink… Don't let me sink, she had thought as she reached for his hand, and he had promised not to when he took it. This moment, Lydia thought. This is where it all went wrong.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, Marilyn Lee, James Lee, Nath Lee
Related Symbols: Water/Swimming/the Lake
Page Number: 273-274
Explanation and Analysis:

After learning about Jack’s love for Nath, Lydia reaches a kind of breaking point. That night, at 2am, she sneaks out to the lake. While sitting on the dock, she thinks about the day when Nath pushed her into the water, concluding that “this is where it all went wrong.” Lydia’s thoughts in this passage reveal a curious mix of perceptiveness and irrationality. On the one hand, Lydia has a sharp understanding of the way in which her parents’ attention has been “suffocating,” such that she has crumbled under the pressure of James and Marilyn’s love. On the other hand, her interpretation that the day in which Nath pushed her into the lake was the single moment “where it all went wrong” is arguably naïve; as the book shows, the problems in Lydia’s life originated decades before she was even born.

Lydia articulates two contradictory feelings about the prospect of “disappearing” into the lake; she feels relieved to disappear even as she also resolves to take Nath’s hand and let him pull her to the surface. These conflicting feelings provide an insight into why—in only a few minutes from this scene—Lydia jumps into the lake and drowns herself. Part of her hopes to “stay afloat” using the support of her brother, as well as her own determination, to survive. However, throughout her life the lake seems to have been pulling her toward it, beckoning her with the temptation to escape everyone’s attempts to control her life and to succumb to the mysterious power of the water.

Chapter 12 Quotes

What made something precious? Losing it and finding it. All those times he'd pretended to lose her. He sinks down on the carpet, dizzy with loss.

Then he feels small arms curling round his neck, the warmth of a small body leaning against him.

Related Characters: Lydia Lee, James Lee, Hannah Lee
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:

After driving aimlessly to Toledo, James turns around and heads home. Once there, he finds no sign of Marilyn or Nath, only Hannah sitting alone in the living room. The two of them play a game that James used to play with Lydia where he holds Hannah on his back and pretends that he can’t find her. In the midst of this game, James is overcome by the painful irony that he spent years playing that he had “lost” Lydia, only for that game to come horrifically true. His reflection about things becoming precious through being lost and found suggests that—even in the midst of the Lee’s pain at losing Lydia—new and positive things may flourish in her absence. This sense of hope is symbolized by Hannah’s arms around James’ neck.

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Lydia Lee Character Timeline in Everything I Never Told You

The timeline below shows where the character Lydia Lee appears in Everything I Never Told You. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Lydia is dead, but her family does not yet know this. It is May 3, 1977... (full context)
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...car is still in the driveway, though this doesn’t tell them much, as last week Lydia failed her driver’s test. It is now 7:30 in the morning and Hannah asks if... (full context)
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Marilyn calls the secretary at Lydia’s high school to ask if Lydia is there. Though she is tenth grade, Lydia’s first... (full context)
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...she has just graded were also of poor quality. From the back, she looks like Lydia, although Louisa’s eyes are brown, not blue. She is the first Asian student that James... (full context)
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...angry with their parents without their parents realizing. Nath watches one of the officers touch Lydia’s “Baby Soft” perfume “as if cupping a child’s head.” The officers advise them that most... (full context)
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Downstairs, Hannah shows the policeman a photo from the past Christmas. Lydia was in a bad mood and Nath tried to cheer her up, but it didn’t... (full context)
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The police leave, after instructing James and Marilyn to write a list of Lydia’s friends who might be able to help them discover where she is. Nath says nothing,... (full context)
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...each of the friends on the list, but none of them have any idea where Lydia might be. Hannah sits under the table and touches Nath’s toe with her own, but... (full context)
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...out to find him. He thinks back on the night before, the last time saw Lydia. He’d just come back from a four-day campus visit to Harvard, where he’d been thrilled... (full context)
Chapter 2
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The narrator claims that everything began with Lydia’s parents and their own parents before them. Marilyn herself had once disappeared and she had... (full context)
Chapter 3
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On the day of Lydia’s funeral, Marilyn thinks of how she would have wanted the last moment she saw her... (full context)
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School has been closed for Lydia’s funeral, and many of her classmates are in attendance. James and Marilyn barely recognize Karen... (full context)
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...he is there. Jack asks how Nath is doing and says he is sorry about Lydia, to which Nath aggressively responds, “Are you?” As Jack turns to leave, Nath grabs his... (full context)
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...house. He decides to listen in to the conversation from the outside, thinking that as Lydia’s brother he has a “right” to hear. Inside, Jack is explaining that Lydia was in... (full context)
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...in bed, but instead he heads to his office, where he’s kept his copy of Lydia’s autopsy. It is lunchtime and the office is empty. Reading the autopsy, James thinks that... (full context)
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...After they have sex, James falls into a deep sleep for the first time since Lydia’s disappearance. Meanwhile, at home, Marilyn tries to fall asleep but can’t. Eventually, she walks into... (full context)
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The objects in Lydia’s room remind Marilyn of who she hoped Lydia would be as an adult. Lydia had... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Back when Lydia is five and Hannah is not yet born, Middlewood College has a Christmas party that... (full context)
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...since her wedding day, and she never told Doris about the births of Nath or Lydia. When she tells James about Doris’ death, she makes it clear that she doesn’t want... (full context)
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...who constantly ask when Marilyn is coming home. James takes Nath to the Y, leaving Lydia—who hasn’t yet learned to swim—with Mrs. Allen. James has been looking forward to spending time... (full context)
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...Marilyn makes a series of increasingly sumptuous meals and an enormous pink birthday cake for Lydia. She is amazed that no one has noticed the secret hiding beneath her cheerful smile. (full context)
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...worried that she will cry again. She likewise avoids eye contact when kissing Nath and Lydia goodbye, but tells them to “be good.” After they go, Marilyn takes a barrette from... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...have never discussed Marilyn’s disappearance, and thus Hannah has no idea that it happened. After Lydia’s death, Hannah feels confused and angry. She wants to ask Lydia what it was like... (full context)
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Back at home, Hannah goes into Lydia’s room and retrieves a broken silver locket. She has promised Lydia she will never wear... (full context)
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James responds that he doesn’t think a “nutcase” took Lydia. Just then, Officer Fiske arrives, and informs the family that they have spoken to Karen... (full context)
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Nath steps outside with Officer Fiske, thinking that if Lydia had been a “normal” teenage girl the police would have already understood what Nath knows—that... (full context)
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...Marilyn is furious at James for dismissing her suggestion that a stranger was involved in Lydia’s death. James accuses her of being “hysterical” as a result of watching the news. Meanwhile,... (full context)
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...his car, replaying Marilyn’s words in his mind and feeling a sense of responsibility for Lydia’s unhappiness and death. He had planned to tell Louisa that he loves Marilyn and that... (full context)
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Marilyn cradles Lydia’s book bag, inhaling the “precious” smell of school. Suddenly, Marilyn notices that inside the bag... (full context)
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...so angry with Jack. Nath tells her that he knows that Jack was involved with Lydia’s death. He adds that Lydia fell in the lake before Hannah was born, when Nath... (full context)
Chapter 6
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The summer that Marilyn disappears is the same summer that Lydia falls into the lake. The Lee family never talks about this summer, but they cannot... (full context)
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...be taken to the lake. James refuses, saying he doesn’t want to “play lifeguard” to Lydia, who can’t yet swim. Nath angrily pinches Lydia’s arm and calls her a “baby.” (full context)
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Lydia, meanwhile, is plagued by torturous nightmares. The only reminder of Marilyn in the house is... (full context)
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When they arrive home, Lydia and Nath are at the kitchen table. James announces, “Your mother’s home,” even though the... (full context)
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...Marilyn refuses to cook, buying only pre-prepared food. At the same time, she starts grilling Lydia constantly on math equations, and Lydia starts counting everything: hot dogs, hugs, fireworks. Marilyn buys... (full context)
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Mrs. Allen falls asleep in front of the TV and Nath heads outside. Lydia asks where he is going, before eventually following him. They walk out to the lake... (full context)
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...and he cannot stop himself from teasing Nath even though he knows he should. Next, Lydia and Nath enter the three-legged race and they immediately come tumbling down. The handkerchief tying... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...the world is shaken by dramatic political events, yet the Lees remain “bound” together by Lydia. James continues to be affected by incidents of racism, his despair only mitigated by the... (full context)
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Every evening at dinner James and Marilyn talk to Lydia at length about social and academic pursuits, before briefly turning Nath to ask how he... (full context)
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It is now 1976. Lydia is 15 and will be dead in five months. She is failing physics and has... (full context)
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Under her mattress, Lydia has been hiding a letter informing Nath that he has been admitted to the Harvard... (full context)
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...knows that James will only approve of Harvard. Nath dreams of “leaving everyone behind,” including Lydia. At 15, Lydia wears lipstick to school to seem grown up, but her Baby Soft... (full context)
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...and let’s out a strained “Not bad.” Marilyn is more enthusiastic, kissing her son’s cheek. Lydia watches from the top of the stairs, noticing James smile at Nath in a way... (full context)
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At dinner, Marilyn interrogates Lydia, asking how she will feel if she is unable to find a job and ends... (full context)
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Lydia dreads receiving her mother’s Christmas gift. Usually, Marilyn gives Lydia books that she really just... (full context)
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James explains that the books are supposed to help Lydia “be popular.” Lydia tells James she has friends, even though she knows this isn’t true.... (full context)
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Lydia reads How to Win Friends and Influence People, which advises her to be a good... (full context)
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Lydia works hard, and at the end of January Marilyn checks in to see how physics... (full context)
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Marilyn tells James to leave Lydia alone, and he replies that he’s “not the one nagging about her homework.” Lydia silently... (full context)
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Lydia sits in nervous silence; she has never been in a car with a boy her... (full context)
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Jack asks Lydia about her blue eyes, and if she knows that she’s the only non-white girl in... (full context)
Chapter 8
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After Lydia’s death, James starts going on long drives. He buys sleeping pills, but the only place... (full context)
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...the day Marilyn returned home. Now it signifies that it has been two months since Lydia disappeared. James reads the newspaper, which contains an article on Lydia’s death. Karen Adler is... (full context)
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...when “whoever did this is still out there.” She insists that the police don’t know Lydia, and that she, Marilyn, knows that Lydia would not have gone out on the lake... (full context)
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Back home, Marilyn tells Nath and Hannah that the police have ruled Lydia’s death a suicide. Nath calls Officer Fiske and urges him to keep investigating Jack, but... (full context)
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...trying to let him know that she understood. She knows that Jack did not hurt Lydia—that he has never hurt anyone. (full context)
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...tell him that she would have married him “a hundred times if it gave us Lydia,” and that he is not to blame for Lydia’s death. However, James doesn’t come home... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Three months earlier, Lydia is pleased to see that people are beginning to grow suspicious about her and Jack’s... (full context)
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Jack asks if Lydia will tell Nath he’s “not such a bad guy,” and Lydia smiles and says Nath... (full context)
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Nath eventually gets over his initial anger, but Lydia is haunted by the incident. After a few days, James knocks on Lydia’s door, saying... (full context)
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Lydia tells James that the necklace is beautiful, and James asks her to promise him that... (full context)
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Despite Lydia’s obvious sulking, James has no idea that there is anything wrong. When they get to... (full context)
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Back home, Marilyn and Hannah prepare to surprise Lydia with an elaborate cake in the shape of a driver’s license. While Marilyn is still... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...hurry. He returns to find the house suspiciously peaceful and silent. Marilyn is sitting at Lydia’s desk. She asks James how long the affair has been going on, and he replies... (full context)
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...she knew she wanted to be a doctor. Marilyn bitterly accuses James of always encouraging Lydia to fit in, while Marilyn “wanted her to be exceptional.” Marilyn adds that now James... (full context)
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...car keys and, in spite of Hannah’s protests, drives away too. Upstairs, Marilyn sits in Lydia’s room and thinks of all the years Doris spent alone in her house. Marilyn rips... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Days before Lydia’s death, Nath is desperate to leave Middlewood. As he packs for his campus visit, he... (full context)
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Later that night, Lydia goes into Nath’s room, wanting to tell him about Louisa. She sees Nath on the... (full context)
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That evening, Lydia calls Nath’s host at Harvard; when someone picks up the phone, she can hear the... (full context)
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On Monday morning Lydia wears lipstick and a beautiful dress James bought for her. At the breakfast table, James... (full context)
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Jack pulls away from Lydia and looks at her with kindness, but without lust. Hurt, Lydia asks if she’s not... (full context)
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Lydia runs home and finds Marilyn sweeping the porch. Marilyn suggests that they study for Lydia’s... (full context)
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The day Nath pushed her into the lake was also the day that Lydia first realized how “suffocating” it was to be loved as her parents loved her. She... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...They giggle, and James plays a game with Hannah that he used to play with Lydia; he would walk around with Lydia on his back, saying “Where’s Lydia?” James becomes dizzy... (full context)
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...again. It takes time for the family to learn more about what really happened to Lydia, and for the tensions between James and Nath to subside. Slowly, they begin uncovering things... (full context)
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In the water, Nath thinks of Lydia, falling beneath the surface to the bottom of the lake. He wants to feel himself... (full context)