Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires EverywhereIn 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.

Stacey's review 4 of 5 stars

Little Fires Everywhere is the perfect title for this book as it represents the little, smoldering fires that burn through all relationships and family dynamics. This book shows how relationships intertwine from family to family and how these connections spark actions in others, whether they are meant to or not. In very basic terms, it shows how humans affect each other just by being present in each others' lives.

This is a story about Mia and Pearl, a nomadic mother and daughter team that move frequently, according to Mia's art projects. Once a project is finished, Mia uproots her teenage daughter and transplants her into another community, school, etc. At first it appears that Mia is selfish, dragging her daughter around the country to follow her artistic whims, but as the story unfolds we see the reasons behind their movement, and we see it is out of love for her daughter that she keeps her on the move.
Mia and Pearl's lives connect with the Richardsons, their landlords in Shaker Heights- a beautiful, orderly suburb of Cleveland- and both family's lives will change forever. Elena Richardson, mother of four is a charitable woman, and rents her property to those deserving of her generosity. But with Elena, there are usually strings attached. And if you don't play by her rules you will find yourself under her persistent reporter's scrutiny.
The fires heat up once another Shaker Heights' family attempts to adopt a Chinese baby whose mother wants to regain custody. This causes a rift within the town and amongst the two families as well, and the fires smoulder....
Little Fires Everywhere is a wonderful story of what makes a family, love, secrets and moving on. It was not a fast paced drama but a slow burn with great character depth and development. Can't wait to read more from Celeste Ng.

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