56. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng was everywhere last year and despite the many posts populating my Instagram feed with rave reviews by people I follow, it wasn’t till I learned that Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde and Kerry Washington from Scandal were producing and starring in it’s TV show. After that confirmation, it was only a matter of when I’d get it and dive straight in.

“If they planned every detail, the Shakers had believe, they could create a patch of heaven on earth, a little refuge from the world, and the founders of Shaker Heights had thought the same.”

Summary:

Little fires everywhere is set in the perfect model town Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Ohio where a mother-daughter duo – Mia and Pearl – move into the rental duplex owned by the Richardson family . The Richardson’s are the poster family for all the values and security, the planned community of Shaker heights stands for. Everything is going well, until an usual adoption of a Chinese baby puts the town on every headline, with Mia and Mrs. Elena Richardson on opposing sides and playing a vital role.

“It had been a long time since her daughter let her be so close.Parents, she thought learned to survive touching their child less and less.”

Things aren’t as simple as they seem, and when Elena – who happens to be a reporter as well – digs deeper into Mia, she discovers secrets that not only affect her but all four of her kids as well. All of them are attached to Mia and Pearl in their own way; Trip, Lexie, Moody and Lizzy. However, the consequences of the actions of both the mothers ultimately drive their kids to severe extremes, including setting the house on fire by the youngest, a.k.a Lizzy.

“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them you’d succeed; if you didn’t you might burn the world to the ground”

Eventually, the custody battle is settled, Mia and Pearl end up leaving again and Elena is left with a void filled by running away of her youngest child.

Reaction:

Wow, wow, wow.

All I could think of after reading this book was what a complicated, heavily inter-linked story this is. The amount of complexities within the characters and the various themes the author touched upon including individuality, motherhood, karma, and fear can make anyone’s head spin – but in a good way.

I couldn’t get over how artful this book is by including Mia’s passion for photography and describing the various ways she’d take pictures. But especially though I was amazed on how beautifully the maternal instinct was portrayed from the angle of a single mom, a working mom, a foster mom, or even the mom who abandoned her child. This has got to be the most unique book I’ve read this year and now I know why it was so hyped up.

Onto the basics:

  1. Rating: 5.0/5.0
  2. Favorite quote:  “To those out on their own paths, setting little fire”
  3. Reader level: Easy paced.
  4. Should you read: This is a mild thriller/mystery novel, highly recommended.
  5. Would I read it again: You bet!

-Sarah

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