Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Overview: 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 – 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.

Debbie Weiss (06/28/18): Little Fires Everywhere follows the lives of two interconnected families in Shaker Hights, Ohio. The Richardson family appears on the surface to have everything. This all-American family with 4 teenagers lives in a beautiful house, always filled with expensive furniture and lots of food. The dad is a successful attorney and the mom is a journalist. The Warrens, on the other hand are composed of two: Mom Mia and daughter Pearl. They get by by purchasing clothing and furniture at thrift shops. The lives of the two families are intertwined because the Warrens rent a duplex from the Richardsons.

Why is it that the Richardson children are drawn to Mia Warren? Why is it that Pearl Warren is drawn to the Richardsons? What actually drives family dynamics? What forms a mother-child bond? All these questions are dealt with elegantly by the author. The book makes you consider how you would deal with the various complicated situations that arise during everyday life.
Rating: ****

Faith Bowers (12/20/17): I think this book was great only I am not sure if I missed half of the hidden meanings of the little fires. Ms Ng is young but writes about 1990s family life before cell phones and internet in an upper middle class town. She questions parenting values of all sorts which makes for interesting discussion. Some characters were more developed than others and as per my taste the women characters are better developed than the male ones. Mrs Richardson, the mother of four teenagers thinks she has the perfect life as an ordered and well planned life in the town she grew up and still resides. We begin to question what is perfect and do we even like what she values. I have not yet read Celeste NG’s first novel but I will now.
Rating: ***

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