Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Length: 338 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press
Format: Hardcover (borrowed from library)
Release Date: September 12, 2017
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.
Although the setting in Little Fires Everywhere is at a suburban community, this story covers hard hitting issues that effects everyone regardless of the environment one lives in. Many has the mindset of promoting diversity and acceptance in their neighborhoods, yet the fear of nonconformity can stifle the best of intentions.
There were many parts in Little Fires Everywhere that were very eye-opening, especially when the custody battle scenes came into the forefront. The overall theme that rang clear throughout the proceedings and the conflicts that ran deep within the neighborhood was what defined a stable home environment: the unyielding power of a mother’s love, or the connection of the family altogether?
The coming-of-age story lines among Pearl and the Richardson children were also rich with emotion. Pearl is new to the Shaker Heights community, and she’s accepted into a group that exemplifies everything that meant ‘acceptance’: children with the ‘best’ looks, wardrobe, and mannerisms that would help get by in high school life. It’s only after Pearl becomes deeply involved with these childrens’ lives that she sees how loyalty can impact one’s well being. The impact on loyalty runs the risk of treading shaky ground, as it was reflected in Mia Warren and Elena Richardson’s actions. Each woman made a choice out of the best of intentions, and resulted in consequences that threatened to impact many in the long run.
Little Fires Everywhere is such a powerful story that reflects the current times of a community learning to understand each other’s differences. I highly recommend it!
Rating: 5/5 Stars