LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
BY CELESTE NG
BOOK SYNOPSIS: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.
Little Fires Everywhere is a beautiful, complicated story of family and relationships. I loved that the story came from several of the character's point of views, giving the reader a peek into the thoughts behind the action of the character involved. I had mixed feelings about both main characters Mia and Elena. Mia was frustrating to me at times and felt very self absorbed, I felt that there was a lack of a bond between herself and her daughter Pearl. Mia and Pearl live a nomadic lifestyle, moving 46 times when we meet them at the beginning of the story. At the end of the book I was still puzzled as to if they moved so much because of Mia's secret or so that she could continue to work on her art. Once they have settled into Shaker Heights I felt that she left Pearl to negotiate uncharted waters of a permanent home, school, and friends by herself because she was too busy creating her art. Surprisingly, I felt more sympathy for Elena than I meant to. She tries to keep her family and house in perfect order but is obviously blind to the things her children are involved in. Her complicated relationship with her youngest child, Izzy broke my heart. The adoption battle that brings everyone together but divides the characters is a deeply layered element of the book that ties everything together beautifully. So many emotions were brought to the surface for me because my daughter is adopted. This book was a great page turner and would definitely be a great for a book club. I will be looking for Celeste Ng's other book "Everything I Never Told You". I have a feeling I'll like it as much as I did this one.
FAVORITE QUOTE FROM THE BOOK:
"Remember, sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.