“You don’t feel like smiling? Then what? Force yourself to smile. Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy.”
This debut novel by Celeste Ng tells the story of an Asian-American parents; Marilyn and James Lee, and their three teenage children. There’s Nath, the oldest son who is undeniably talented, and Hannah, the youngest daughter of the family. But whatever they’re doing, it’s often put aside by their parents because of Lydia, the middle child. Though she never asked for it, Lydia’s described as the golden child of the family who’s holding up all of the expectations from her parents. From the expectation to be a successful doctor in the future, expectation to have a good social skill, up to the hinted expectation for her to always follow what Marilyn and James say. Without realizing how Lydia is mentally and emotionally exhausted because of it.