Book Reviews

Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 338
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★☆

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this book. I mean, I rated it 4 stars, so I obviously I liked it, but I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the book.

Little Fires Everywhere is a wonderful novel. I’m not going to say it isn’t. It’s thought provoking. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you angry. You’ll find yourself taking sides on issues raised in the book. You’ll find yourself heartbroken for characters who have lost something. You’ll find yourself hoping that characters get what they are looking for in the end.

I went out of my genre comfort zone for this book. I don’t normally read books that are in the “Fiction” or “Adult Fiction” category unless I’ve been seeing them everywhere – which I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about this book. I’ve seen where people say it’s slow moving, which I suppose you could say that it is, but I read it in 2 days, so it can’t be that slow moving. Usually when I think of a slow moving book, it takes me over a week to read the book because it moves so slowly that I can’t get into it. I think it is more a matter of the book moves slowly if you simply aren’t interested in it.

I fell in love with the kids in this book – Pearl and Izzy especially. I keep wondering if Trip & Moody really are named that or if they are nicknames for which we simply are never given their proper given names. The kids are just so genuine and I know how Izzy feels because I’ve felt that way on more than one occasion with my family (although in my case it is extended family who make me feel that way, not my parents).

The May Ling Chow/Mirabelle McCullough story line tugged at my heart. I can totally see how both sides felt, but I must admit, I sided with Bebe Chow. You’ll have to tell me which side you chose in that debate.

All in all, the book is a really good read and I do recommend that you check it out if you’re into adult fiction.