synopsis// 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 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.
review// August 1st: First day of the Netgalley Readathon. I decided to start with this one. I have been wanting to read it since much before it came out but I had a very busy year and well, one thing led to another and I ended up reading it now. And guess what? I loved it! I never read anything by Celeste Ng although I have heard a lot about her other book ‘Everything I Never Told You’. Now, more than ever, I would love to read more of her work.
It starts off with a fire in a perfect neighborhood called Shaker Heights. As soon as you read the first pages, you’re immediately sucked into the story. You’d like this even more if mysteries are your thing. In a way, it kind of reminded me of Big Little Lies which I also loved.
If I had to talk about one thing relating to this book, it would be the characters. We mainly follow two families: the Warrens (Mia and Pearl) and the Richardsons. We get to move from one perspective to another and, sometimes, we get to see how many characters think of or deal with something in particular from more than just one side and it’s really interesting. The way Celeste Ng wrote about them made them come to life with each having a very fascinating personality. You felt as if they were someone you knew. I found myself rooting for even secondary characters as well as the main characters which doesn’t always happen.
I read this book quite quickly but the story of the custody battle between biological and adoptive mothers really stuck with me. I tried and I tried but I really couldn’t pick sides because I could understand both their points and… I guess that’s the story of how I came to realize that I could’ve never been a judge. 😂 That’s also a sign that Celeste Ng is brilliant since she basically managed to convince me of two things that are basically opposites. Also, the way the story was wrapped up in the end just proved to me even more that Celeste Ng knows what she’s doing! I was hoping for a tiny bit more of story but it was still very nicely done.
who is it for?// I would recommend this to anyone who has no problem with character-driven stories. You might also find that this story is a bit slow paced (although it isn’t really) so be wary of that before picking it up. For me, this is exactly the kind of book that I like so if you don’t mind all of this, Little Fires Everywhere is your book!