From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned â from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors 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 â an enigmatic artist and single mother â who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood â and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
I listened to this on audio and it really held my attention. This book touches on a lot of issues: motherhood, abortion, adoption, life choices, friendship and secrets. Although I don't agree with the author's views on some of these issues, I found the book most interesting. The characters were fascinating and the storylines weaving throughout made the book into a real family drama. I think Celeste Ng is a talented writer and I have read her first novel and enjoyed that too. Even though the book started out slow and a lot of characters were introduced, it finally took off and really held my interest. One complaint I have is that the ending was a little abrupt and left me hanging a bit. I look forward to reading her next book and hope it's another winner. I would recommend this book to those who love family dramas and other issues dealing with family.
In the planned community of Shaker Heights, everything is perfect, tasteful, and serene. Not even the appearance of a free-spirited single mom and her artworks can make much of a ripple. But when one couple adopts an abandoned baby and the birth mother appears before the adoption is completed, all kinds of secrets and imperfections are revealed in the lives of three families.
Ng manages to stay out of soap-opera territory, mostly by her ability to look at family dynamics and to insist that her characters at least acknowledge (if not fully accept) the consequences of their actions.
The disputed-baby thread comes closest to cliche, as the bereft birth mother is painted as utterly blameless and totally incapable of navigating the world in which she finds herself, yet the reader is encouraged to root for her to regain custody.
For all that, 'Little Fires Everywhere' is an engaging read.
Powerful, thought-provoking and moving. Family dynamics, lifestyles and life choices resonate throughout this novel. "the firemen said there were little fires everywhere. Multiple points of origin. Possible use of accelerant. Not an accident." 'This seems to reflect so much in the novel - the secret little fires that are in everyone's lives, the way that accelerants like gender and race and class affect those fires, and so on.'
So many people have loved this book; I liked it. There were moments when I thought, âyes, this is getting betterâ to just be taken back to âthis is just okayâ. I thought the writing was good but I was bored through much of the book. Not enough originality for me.
Good story and has an interesting moral question. Ending a little contrived but otherwise is very good, well written, and well worth reading.
I loved this work, not as much as Ms. Ng's first work, but I am still a huge fan. So many characters and maybe that is why it felt like it took me ages to read. We found out about each character's life and because of this I felt like the middle of the book dragged a bit. But, what an emotional rollercoaster! We read this book for my book club recently and it lent itself to a wonderful discussion. So many layers! Even as a Mother, my most important role, I could find myself understanding the emotions of both sides of the story. Give this one a read and discover a brilliant author for yourself! Thank you first 2 read for the opportunity to read this work in exchange for an honest review.
I really loved Ng's first book Everything I Never Told You and equally loved this book. She has a beautiful way of writing characters and detailing their imperfections, their emotions, their love and their pain. Where Everything I Never Told You was a family dynamic with high expectations on the oldest child and their other two children feeling neglected but showing the different perspectives of each family member and the reader seeing all the misperceptions and confusion created by lack of communication, this book explored suburbia including the idea of utopia, conformity and community versus being different and making different life choices, and what it means to be a parent. So beautifully written and we see right into the different character's hearts and souls.
This novel was selected by my local book club for this month. It was a decent read, though it is not my preferred genre. Without reading any other reviews, here is my brief take.
Mia and her daughter, Pearl, are an unintentional virus, injected into a modern-day utopia, Shaker Heights. Usually, when I think of Dystopian settings, it would be in a Speculative Fiction (SF) novel; but here it is, happening in our own time. In our own neighborhoods. And, as with most dystopian novels, both sides of the equation experience the full range of experience, including the pain, the education, self-evaluation, realization, and maturation.
I would add more, but I'm afraid that would spoil the story. Suffice to say I was interested enough to finish this novel, which has not always been the the case in this group which leans more toward those books that go good with a nice bottle of wine, where my tastes are more beer and bourbon :o)
The Richardsons live in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland and a very "planned and ordered" neighborhood. Colors, lawns, roads, etc are all perfectly done. Elena (Mom) is the ultimate embodiment of everything that Shaker Heights entails. She is a journalist and her four children, Trip, Lexie, Moody & Izzy attend the local schools, which are "perfect".
Enter Mia and Pearl Warren. They are the newest tenants of Elena's two family house in the area, just not as close to their home as is comfortable.
Mia & Pearl have been a wandering pair. Mia is an artist and goes with the creative flow. Pearl is an intelligent free spirit.
The Richardson children become friendly with Pearl and really fall in love with her and her more free-spirited personality. Then they get to know Mia, and learn to love her just as much.
Then a friend of Elena's adopts an Oriental child who was abandoned at a fire station. This is when the riff between the Richardson's and the Warren's begins to unfold.
This is a good, soft story. You are inclined to feel comfortable with all characters. Celeste Ng certainly makes you feel all sides of this story and all the ways that the characters are feeling.
Loved this one, about the 'perfect' family and it's matriarch, pointing fingers and judging everyone around her, while she is unaware of the defects of her own family and the consequences of becoming what she condemns in everyone else. Great read, thoroughly enjoyable!