Things Unsaid

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Things Unsaid, by Diana Y. Paul

by McKenna, Staff Reviewer

Does anyone else remember reading The Glass Menagerie in high school? For those who don’t, it’s a play about a family that appears normal at first glance, but upon learning their stories, you soon realize the normalcy is just a facade. Much like The Glass Menagerie, Things Unsaid is about a family who puts a show of normalcy- the matriarch and patriarch (Aida and Bob) are entering retirement, and their three kids (Jules, Andrew, and Joanne) are all married with kids of their own. The conflict occurs when Aida and Bob, while experiencing the mental and physical decline typical of their age, decide to spend their family’s assets, which burdens all the children, most significantly their financially responsible daughter, Jules. However, it soon becomes evident that money is the least of this family’s problems.

To be clear, this is not a plot-driven story. There is no dramatic buildup or harrowing cliffhangers. Instead, the arc of the story comes from the foray into the lives of the three main characters. As the layers are peeled back, we see the experiences, interactions, and upbringing that made the main characters who they are. As with most character-driven stories, the power of the story lies in the detail. One of the most powerful threads in the story is the relationship between Jules and her daughter, Zoe. Although Jules lacked a strong mother figure, she still does everything she can to form and maintain a strong and loving bond with her daughter. There is one particular scene in which Zoe made a comment to Jules that in a book with a rapid escalating plot line and dramatic scenes may have gone unnoticed. Yet it is the simplicity of the writing that makes these relationships- and the story- so powerful. That being said, the plot does seem to drag along at times as the flashbacks become increasingly detailed, and I found it hard to keep up with who is who. Yet it is certainly worth it to stick around to the end, as more surprises are revealed. Even for those who prefer more action-packed stories, I strongly advise you to take a peek into the lives of these characters and give this story a try. The characters, including the subtle nuances and intricacies of their lives and experiences, are quite moving and memorable.

File Size: 1364 KB
Print Length: 247 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (October 13, 2015)
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

“With a grace that is absorbing and deft, Paul tackles many difficult questions, including filial responsibility, depression, marital strife, and sexual identity. The author depicts heart-wrenching conundrums as the three siblings are forced repeatedly to evaluate their personal priorities. An engaging tale of family dysfunction and intractable senior citizens.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Diana Y. Paul is the award-winning author of THINGS UNSAID, her debut novel. Writing is a form of meditation for her and strongly influences her storytelling. WINNER of the 2016 SILVER Medal for Best Fiction in Drama from Readers Favorites, WINNER for BEST NEW ADULT FICTION from Beverly Hills Book Awards for 2016, and FINALIST in New Fiction and Literary Fiction from USA Book Awards 2016, THINGS UNSAID is ranked #2 in the “Top 14 Books about Families Crazier Than Yours”. If you’d like to communicate directly with her, please visit Twitter @DianaPaul10.

Diana was born in Akron, Ohio and is a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in both psychology and philosophy and a Ph.D in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a former professor at Stanford University in Buddhist Studies focusing on the role of women in religion and culture. Her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and she is currently working on a second novel, A Perfect Match. She lives in Carmel, CA with her husband and loves to create mixed media art, focusing on printmaking. Her art has been exhibited in California, Hawaii, and Japan. Whenever possible, Diana and her husband love to visit their adult daughter and her family in San Francisco and their son in Los Angeles. To learn more about her and her work, visit her author website at, and her blog on movies, art, and food at or follow her on Twitter: @DianaPaul10.

Check out Diana’s guest post and author information in the VISITING AUTHORS tab.