Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Penguin Press; 1st Edition edition (September 12, 2017)
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary Fiction, Family Life
Trigger Warnings: Abortion, Privilege
Shaker Heights, Ohio is known for being perfectly planned and progressively liberal. Elena Richardson, a third generation Shaker, has spent her entire life embodying the spirit of Shaker Heights. Working mother of four married her college sweetheart, Elena life is as planned as the town. That is until artist Mia Warren, and her daughter Pearl moved into the subsidized rental property for those Elena deemed “worthy” of Shaker’s gifts. When Pearl befriends Elena’s children, Elena decides to extend an olive branch out to Mia by offering her the job as their housekeeper. It is not long though before Elena’s childhood best friend ends up in a nasty custody battle over the Chinese American baby they adopted. Elena suspects Mia had something do with it embarks on uncovering the mystery revolving her tenant’s past.
Boy has this past month been insane! Moving has been super stressful, and my new job requires me to work twelve hours Monday through Thursday. Thankfully, I have been able to relax a little bit and finally knock out one of the books I have been meaning to read for a while. I received Little Fires Everywhere as a Christmas gift from my friend J, and I have been moving it around in my overnight bag since.
Little Fires Everywhere lived up to its expectations. Celeste Ng’s writing was perfection. I was captivated by the fellow Wolverine’s ability to paint her words as an art form. Always in the third person, Ng jumps from perspective to perspective – often within the same chapter- with an ease that is difficult to achieve. I was never lost nor confused on the direction the story was headed. Although it was a tad slow in the beginning, once the custody battle began the novel jumped into hyper speed. I could not put it down.
While Little Fires Everywhere takes place during the Clinton administration, Ng tackled several difficult topics that were often “hidden” during the time. While the novel often explored the dichotomy between wealthy and poor, the heavier discussion involved around the adoption of a Chinese American baby. Specifically, the ethics of a child being raised away from her home culture to white parents. Parent’s who would not be able to prepare their child from the systematic racism Shaker Heights was ignorant to believe existed.
Overall, I gave Little Fires Everywhere 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. All of the characters were relatable and easy to connect with. Mia was my favorite with Izzy being a close second. I could relate to their outcasted lifestyles and artistic drive. I was glad that I had read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race before sinking into Little Fires Everywhere. I highly suggest that others do the same, or at least read Why I’m… directly after reading Little Fires Everywhere. Reni Endo-Lodge’s work provided me with an outside perspective regarding the custody battle I do not believe I could have had without it.
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