Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere

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Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publication Date: 2017
Publishing House: Penguin Books

This book has been on the to-read list for a while. I got it from Book of the Month but never got around to reading it. Recently I’ve been in a reading slump and I wanted a new book but nothing too long. I finally read Little Fires Everywhere and flew through it.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned–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–an enigmatic artist and single mother–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–and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. I’d head a bit about it and about the resulting show. Maybe that’s why it took me a while to read it, I was worried that it would fall flat after all the built up expectation. Thankfully it did not.

This book is about choices and about life. It is about finding what decisions we can live with and which decisions we cannot. How time changes us as people as we settle into the life that we have either chosen or been fallen into.

This is an odd book, as it is good for both adults and teens. We can see ourselves in the people that Mia and Elena have become and the people that Pearl and the Richardson children are becoming. The story of these intertwined families has us wondering what paths our own decisions will lead us down.

I suggest this book for fans of fiction, for those who want a chance to better understand people, and for those who want a good book. Happy reading.

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