Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


BLURB
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 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 threaten 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.

THOUGHTS
Opening up Little Fires Everywhere, the Richardson home is on fire, with the suspect being the youngest of the four Richardson children - Isabelle, who is now nowhere to be found. From this point, the story is told backwards, coming back full circle with us as readers finding out exactly why a teenage girl would want to burn down her family home.
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Little Fires Everywhere is so much more than just Isabelle's story however, with it being one of the most intricately woven plots I've ever read. The web that entwines all the characters and their individual stories is really well done and one of the things I've come away admiring from this book.
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Going into Little Fires Everywhere, I hadn't expected it to be as slow paced as it was - especially the first half. Although slow, it wasn't a boring kind of slow, but more a building kind of slow. In the beginning I didn't fall head first into the story as there was a lot of setting up for the story - with key characters (and their backstories) introduced as well as development of the unfolding plot. Despite the pace, I felt invested in all the characters I was meeting, wanting to know where this was all going, and honestly the slowness likely actually played a part in that.
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In terms of characters there are many within Little Fires Everywhere, all of which play a key role in the story somehow. I couldn't possibly sit here and talk about them all, however I will say they were some of the most fleshed out characters I've come across, with flaws in abundance, and all so well crafted.
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Something Celeste Ng has done within Little Fires Everywhere is shine a light on the complexities of relationships (in varying forms), but especially that of motherhood - the good, the bad, and the lengths we go to for the ones we love. I really liked the depths in which Ng delves, combing through motherhood with a fine tooth comb.
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Little Fires Everywhere is an evocative read - playing out in mind as I sat and read. I think this book would translate to the screen really well.
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I'm now super keen to read Celeste Ng's other novel (Everything I Never Told You), even if I am reading them out of publication order.
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Based on my above thoughts I'm sure you've already gathered this, but I loved Little Fires Everywhere, and would definitely recommend giving it a read.
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6 comments

  1. I’m glad you liked it! I’ve had this book on my TBR list since before it came out. I’m interested in how the story is told backwards. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Unsure if I worded it quite right in my review - the story isn't told backwards as in reverse, more that we start at the end and then make our way back there. I hope that makes sense!

      Nonetheless a really great read; perfect for summer too!

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  2. I've had this on my radar but wasn't sure if it was really the book for me. I do love the spotlight on relationships though and I like that the pace is slow but building versus just slow. I'll have to add this to my TBR.

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    1. I was quite unsure about this book because of the buzz surrounding it, however delving in, I'm happy to have done so - if you do pick this one up, I hope you have a similar experience.

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  3. Sounds like the relationships ae key here! I've heard a lot about this one, and am definitely intrigued. I may have to get it!

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    1. They way in which the key characters were entwined definitely made the story as a whole.

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