Book #16: Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng came out at the end of 2017. Since it’s release, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it, but am very hesitant to try contemporary fiction, especially brand new releases. Finally, I found a couple friends that had read it and one that even loaned it to me. Ng’s second novel, this story is a family drama in Shaker Heights, a planned community outside Cleveland, Ohio. The Richardson family fit right into the perfectly manicured and designed city – Mr. and Mrs. Richardson are successful and wealthy, and three of their four children are attractive, popular, and successful in school and their activities. But Izzy, their youngest, does not fit into this suburban utopia. The Richardsons’ existence comes to a crossroads when Mia and her teenage daughter, Pearl, enter their lives. Ng explores an array of issues in this novel – the unpredictability of life, motherhood,  identity and purpose – and I was surprised how nuanced and well-done it was. I think what I found most compelling about this novel is her look at the many facets of motherhood and its difficulties: biological, adoptive, emotional, and abortion. It’s incredibly engaging and fast-paced, with complex and believable characters. It makes me want to go back and read her first novel sometime. 

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