Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere

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Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Little, Brown (14 September 2017)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Family & Relationships
Price: Rs. 559 on Amazon
Pages: 352

I only heard of this book when it won the award for the best fiction of 2017 on Goodreads. I had immediately added it to my TBR back then. After that I read many glowing reviews of this book from bloggers whose recommendations I immensely trust. When the husband got me this book earlier this month, I sat down to read it immediately.

Elena Richardson is the perfect wife and the perfect mother leading a life that is straight out of a fairy tale in her favorite suburb Shaker Heights. She lives by a set of rules and works as a journalist and loves her family comprising of her husband William, daughter Lexie and sons Trip and Moody. Elena is also the mother to Izzy, her youngest, but they never get along. Izzy is considered the black sheep of the family and is more often than not termed "mental" by her siblings. When Mia, a single mother rents a house from Elena, she moves in with her daughter Pearl. Pearl and Moody soon hit it off and Pearl is welcomed to the Richardson family as one of their own. While Elena is very sorted, Mia is anything but that. Mia lives out of a box and moves in and out of cities in search of new projects. She's a photographer and that's the perfect excuse for her. Pearl drags along without complaining, but when they get to Shaker Heights, Mia promises Pearl that they will stay put. But soon, the past catches up disrupting their lives and everything around them.

Mia takes up multiple jobs to support Pearl and her art and soon ends up as a house help for the Richardsons. When Linda and Mark McCullough, close friends of the Richardsons decide to adopt a Chinese American baby after almost a decade of not being able to have children, Elena is thrilled for them. When the biological mother of the baby turns out to be Mia's co-worker, Bebe Chow, the battle begins. Things get more worse when Mr. Richardson who is a lawyer decides to fight the case for the McCulloughs. Angry with Mia for taking her friend's side, Elena sets out to dig up Mia's past. She discovers the truth about Pearl's parentage and learns more about Mia's past. The truth turns out to devastating which could not only destroy Mia and Pearl, but also the Richardsons. What happens to Bebe and the McCulloughs is also an emotional side story.

I will not lie, the pace of the story is pretty slow here, but that does not make it boring. The writing style is neat and precise and the descriptions of Shaker Heights and its rules were spot on. The author manages to build a very good back story for each character and when it all comes together it made so much sense. Elena who is addressed as Mrs. Richardson throughout the book is an underrated heroine. She is so much into her perfect life that she is no longer Elena, it is all Mrs. Richardson now. The author shows this aspect beautifully. With Mia, she shows her free spirit with every color, item, decor in her house. Without the need to stress for a surname, Mia is shown as free soul who dotes on her daughter Pearl. The different parenting styles of Elena and Mia provides for a sharp contrast and the parent-teenage, parent-parent relationships are explored beautifully in this book.

My favorite character of the book turned out to be Izzy. While she's considered weird by everyone around her, she's the only one of the Richardsons who speaks her mind and stands up for what she believes. She is enamored by Mia for the very same reasons and their relationship is so sweet even though it is so quiet. This book talks about relationships and their intricacies so well. The author explores human relationships and their various dynamics beautifully and this held me on to the book. Once you get consumed by the story, it is very hard to put the book down. The title of the book justifies the story very well too. While every character either teaches or learns a lesson, in the end one never knows who won or who lost.


Verdict: This is a book with a single beautiful story that has multiple beautiful stories within it. It talks about love, loss, fear, strength and the fragility of human relationships. Definitely worth a read.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

10 comments:

  1. I really would love to know Izzy more, even though she is the black sheep of the family. Sounds like a good read. You have it five stars, so that’s a good sign :)

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    1. Oh you would love her! She's so right in her own way. Do read it and let me know how you like it.

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  2. Its a beautiful book and so glad you liked it. I loved Izzy too, and intially I was left wondering on her whims, but loved the way the book later gets me into her skin.

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    1. Izzy was one of the best characters ever written. I loved her and her take on life. I wish the book had more of her though.

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  3. I haven't read much books offlate that are based on human relationships. I am curious to know what secrets they must have in past that could destroy them. Sounds like an interesting storyline. Lived your indepth review.

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    1. This one is way too good, Raj! You will like it I'm sure.

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  4. Adding it to my TBR right away. Sounds like a good story. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Do read this, we'll discuss it at length :)

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  5. Loved your review of a book I loved. If you haven't read her first book - Everything I never told you - I highly recommend that too. It's one of my favourite books.

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    1. I'm going to be picking up that too. Thanks Sanch for such beautiful recommendations.

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