Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Little Fires Everywhere

Book: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

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 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 old family friends 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 an unexpected and devastating cost . . .-Goodreads

Review: This is a soapy saga about Mia, a free spirited artist and her teenage daughter, Pearl, who move to a master planned suburban community in Ohio. Ng is a talented writer who writes engaging stories and this was definitely a page turner, however I disliked almost every character in the book. That isn't always a bad thing but here, I felt Ng shoved Mia's "perfectness" down the readers throat repeatedly and I just had an undercurrent of annoyance reading this.  I get it, we, the readers, are supposed to love her. I was very turned off by her parenting style and the big reveal as to what she did as a college student did nothing to change that. Elena is also an unlikeable character who does despicable things. I don't like, I didn't hate this by any means but it was disappointing. 

Grade: 2.5/5 

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