Sunday, May 6, 2018

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

On my last book review, I had a follower comment, "I hope your next book is better!" AND IT WAS!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng has found its way onto my favorites list!


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.


Ng, Celeste. “Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 12 Sept. 2017, www.goodreads.com/book/show/34273236-little-fires-everywhere.


My review:

I loved this book. It's so well-written and so character driven. The connection the reader feels with both Mia and Pearl and then the Richardson family is unparalleled in any novel. The brilliance of Ng to make you love and hate and then love again both families and their quirky idiosyncrasies is a tribute to the authors.

Mia is the nomad we'd all love to be - moving from place to place creating a substantially insubstantial life for her daughter Pearl. But, there is love there, true and absolute, and within the love you can feel something lurking just beneath the surface of their perfectly concocted life. 

The Richardson's - the family we'd all love to hate, but then you get to know them - the working mother, the caring albeit somewhat aloof father, and the four children that balance each other so well. The depth of emotion I felt within this family, and especially as they bring Pearl into their world, broke my heart. They are so very real.

I think that's what is so amazing about this novel - it's just so very real. There is nothing cliche or trite about the lives of the characters. Ng has taken the American family and told them as they are. Their flaws and weaknesses exposed for the whole world to see and it's so very wonderful. 

This a complex and incisive look at small town life, and what happens when the harmony of the expected is shaken by the smallest tremor. The image of the perfect mother: jolted. The image of a not-so-perfect mother: rattled. The image of a perfect family: agitated. The image of a not-so-perfect family: swayed. Ng has created a piercing look at perceived American culture, and subsequently split it wide open. 

I highly recommend. A full 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷from me! And I can't wait to read her other work Everything I Never Told You which I already own. 




You can read more about her at: https://www.celesteng.com/

Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. It has been translated into over two dozen languages.

Celeste's second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, was published by Penguin Press in September 2017, and is a New York Times bestseller, Amazon's #2 best book and best fiction book of 2017, and was named a best book of the year by over 25 publications. It was also the winner of the Goodreads Readers Choice Award 2017 in Fiction, and will soon be published abroad in more than 20 countries.

Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award.  Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, One Story, The Guardian, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ng, Celeste. “Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 12 Sept. 2017, www.goodreads.com/book/show/34273236-little-fires-everywhere.


2 comments:

  1. I'm glad to hear you loved this one. I have been hearing really good things. :)

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  2. Very good blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
    I'm planning to start my own website soon but I'm a little
    lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free
    platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out
    there that I'm completely confused .. Any tips? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete