Thursday, June 14, 2018
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
At the beginning of Little Fires Everywhere, the Richardson family watches as their house burns, everyone assuming the younger daughter, Izzy, is responsible. Then the author takes the story back in time to the arrival of Mia Warren, a photographer/artist who has lived a bit of a vagabond life with her daughter, seldom settling anywhere for longer than a matter of months. Mia has promised her daughter Pearl that they're finally going to stay in one place and they've moved into the Richardsons' rental. Is Mia running from something or is she simply moving for the sake of her art? What led Mia and Pearl to slide their key into the Richardsons' mailbox and head out of town just before the fire broke out?
I read Little Fires Everywhere for group discussion and I pretty much loved everything about it. It's one of those books in which the characters are so vividly described that you feel like they could step right out of the pages. And, while I have forgotten what I may have thought the theme to be, at the time I finished I felt like I had an understanding of what the author was trying to say when I closed the book.
Other than that, I had little to say about the book and was mostly silent during my book club's meeting. In fact, I was asked why I was so quiet, for once, and I said I liked the book a lot but I just didn't feel like I had anything to say about it -- other than the fact that I particularly loved reading about Mia's photography. One of our members noted that Little Fires Everwhere is mostly about the women: Mia, Mrs. Richardson, Pearl, and the two Richardson girls are the characters you follow most closely. There's a lot of food for thought.
Maybe I was just having an off night because I recall the dilemma about who should end up with a child, the adopted mother or the biological mother who gave her up during a time of stress, as the most interesting thing about the book. I felt torn because I could see both sides of the legal argument and how each of the mothers might feel. But, we didn't really talk about that for long, other than to acknowledge that the book seemed to be a story of motherhood in which the author described a number of different mothers, their desire to have a child, how they reacted when they became pregnant or didn't, what it's like to be a person who gives up a child or who chooses to abort one. Little Fires Everywhere definitely offers a number of perspectives on motherhood.
Highly recommended - When I finished the book, I looked up reviews by friends at Goodreads and found that at least one of my friends felt the opposite to how I felt -- she hated the photography details and didn't find the characterization went deep enough. Huh. I really thought the characterization was amazing, myself. At any rate, Little Fires Everywhere was a 5-star read for me and I haven't read Celest Ng's first book, so I'm looking forward to eventually reading it.
Note on the cover: I've posted the cover of the book I purchased, which was bought from Book Depository and is similar to American paperback covers.
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I found this one at a thrift store in like new condition. Still haven’t read it yet but I probably will soon because I’ve been in the mood for this kind lately.ReplyDelete
What a lucky find! It's a really terrific read, in my humble opinion. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!Delete
Isn't it interesting how we all react to books in a different way? I think I would enjoy this one and I do like photography so I would probably like those details as well. One for my list!ReplyDelete
Yes, it is! I found it fascinating that we felt so completely different. The photography sounded so interesting that I honestly wanted it to be real. I would have happily gone to an exhibit of Mia's photographic art.Delete
I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy the photography details, too. I read the author's debut (Everything I Never Told You) in 2015 and thought it was good, but not great.ReplyDelete
I'm sure you would, too, Les. I loved the photography details so much that I really wanted them to be real. Maybe there's someone out there doing similar but I don't know about it if there is. I haven't read Everything I Never Told You but I want to, now!Delete
I thought it was very good too. I loved how all the different relationships could be turned on their sides and seen a different way.ReplyDelete
Yes, exactly! It's a thinking book. That's why I have to wonder if maybe I was having an off night when it was discussed. There's plenty to talk about because the relationships and the decisions made by individuals, could be looked at from different angles, which means prime discussion territory. I just had nothing to say, though, for some reason.Delete
Somehow this book is still sitting unread on my shelf. I LOVED Everything You Never Told Me and got this one as soon as it came out. And yet... still haven't read it! It's definitely on my summer TBR though. I've heard nothing but awesome things! I glad you enjoyed it. Another reminder that I need to pick it up ;)ReplyDelete
I loved it! I can't wait to read Everything You Never Told Me, now. Hope you enjoy Little Fires Everywhere as much as I did. Maybe it just hasn't called to you, yet? I think I'm happiest with my reading when I read whatever seems to be calling out to me to read it.Delete