When I heard that Celeste Ng had a new book coming out, the first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, no!’ Ng’s first book, Everything I Never Told You, was such a huge hit that a follow up seemed risky. Interestingly, and for no particular reason, I never read Ng’s debut but after reading Little Fires Everywhere I plan to rectify that mistake immediately. Up until this read, either Beartown by Frederick Backman or The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close had claimed spots as early runners for my favorite book of 2017. After closing the cover (which is beautiful by the way) of Little Fires Everywhere, there is now an unequivocal leader.
Typically I enjoy a book for either the story or the writing. It is awfully hard, I have found, to write a page turner using gorgeous language. This book, however, has both. Along with fully formed love-able (and sometimes hate-able) characters. Little Fires Everywhere is a family story. A story of race. And social issues. Of teenage angst and maternal love. And maternal pain. We follow the lives of the Richardson family, a seemingly perfect suburban family of six. Alongside their lives we journey with Mia, a single mom who is raising her daughter Pearl. The families find each other and their lives become entwined in ways that are both lovely and not.
I hesitate to give you any more detail. I knew little of the story going in and I’m sure it made the read all the richer. I recently heard a reader say that they just couldn’t stop reading because they were so worried about the characters. I had a pit in my stomach for most of the book and there were times when I wanted to look away like I do when watching scary things on tv. Nothing truly scary happened but there were so many decisions made by so many of these characters that you just knew were going to have unfortunate outcomes. I guess I thought looking away could change the plot.
Definitely let me know if you have read Little Fires Everywhere. It begs for discussion.