Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father's closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there's much more to his family's past than he ever imagined.
Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family's blessing to pursue the career he's always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny's lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can't stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.
When Danny digs deeper into his parents' past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert is a beautiful book that tackles many tough issues. There are multiple themes throughout the story that will open your eyes and rip your heart out at the same time. The writing is compelling and beautiful making this one of my favourite reads so far this year.
I have read quite a few novels in the last year that have had the theme of the immigrant experience and how it affects multiple generations within a family. Picture Us in the Light gives the reader a glimpse into an Asian family’s struggles living in America and how it affects the family dynamic. At times the story takes the reader down some dark paths that really speak to the fear that some immigrant families have while living in the United States.
Not all of the topics addressed by Kelly Loy Gilbert are difficult to read, however. There are some light-hearted moments as well. Danny and his friends are at the time of their lives where they are making plans for college and the future. Also, Danny and his childhood friend, Harry, are working out their relationship as well, and it is obvious that there are some strong romantic feelings between them. The book really has a bit of everything, including a mystery that Danny is determined to solve.
I really enjoyed the lyrical writing in this novel. The descriptions are so rich, especially when Loy Gilbert is depicting art that is so important to Danny’s life. All sorts of emotions are brought out by the way this book is written, and there is a good balance between the sad and lighter passages of the book. It is definitely not one to be read without a few tissues on hand.
Picture Us in the Light is the second novel that I have read by Kelly Loy Gilbert that has been both enjoyable to read and made me experience life in someone else’s shoes. She writes about some topics that are difficult and will really give the reader pause. I highly recommend adding this one to your spring to-be-read list.