Overall Rating: LIKED it!🌟
There was a lot of hype surrounding this book when I first picked it up and I’m happy to say that Little Fires Everywhere lived up to the expectations. First, its complex: the story touches on social issues of class, culture, and societal norms – but – it does so artfully. These complexities stand out while contributing to character development, an area that Celeste Ng has mastered in this novel.
The story takes place in an upper middle class suburb of Cleveland where the Richardson’s and their families have lived for generations. Elna, the matriarch of the family, won’t hesitate to tell you the stories of her family’s history in the town and point out the streets named after her ancestors. She’s the epitome of the nosey, control freak, suburban mom who finds a way to justify even her most spiteful actions. When Mia Warren and her teenage daughter Pearl move into the Richardson’s rental home their stories start to overlap. Pearl quickly becomes part of the Richardson’s family and her mother, Mia, even begins cleaning the Richardson’s home in lieu of rent. The dynamic between the two families is seemingly peaceful until Elna begins to notice a bond forming between Mia and her youngest daughter. Elna, unable to control her resentful compulsions, begins snooping into Mia’s life; asking questions about who Pearl’s father is and going to astonishing lengths to figure it out. Elna’s hypocrisy palpable but as much as you hate every move she makes, you just can’t look away.
This was a hard book to put down – Celeste Ng’s writing is engaging, her character development leaves you invested in their relationships, wishing you could protect them for those trying to take them down, and eliciting real emotion from the reader. The only reason I’m giving this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I would have liked more resolution from the ending. I wasn’t quite ready to give up on these characters and I would have liked to know more about how thier stories ended.
Little Fires Everhwere was published in 2017 and made the Good Reads choice awards for 2017, Amazon’s top 20 books of 2017, Amazon’s book of the month for September 2017 and a finialist in Book of the Month’s Book of the year for 2017. (among topping a number of other ‘best reads’ lists)