I am an extremely picky person with all entertainment, so the fact that I eagerly burned through this book in no less than two weeks, should say a lot. In this week’s post, I wanted to share my review of Celeste NG’s Little Fires Everywhere with you.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Age group/genre: adult fiction
- Publication date: September 12th, 2017
- Pages: 348
- Average Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆
- My Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆
- Read as an ebook.
This novel starts off at its climax: in neatly planned community Shaker Heights, the Richardson family home burns to the ground after little fires were started everywhere throughout the house. After that, the story takes a turn to the events leading up to the fire. It follows the wealthy Richardsons’ as their lives are becoming intertwined with those of Mia and Pearl Warren, their new, unconventional tenants.
It was so, so, so good! This is an impeccable mystery that will keep you hungry for every next word. I’m not one for nerve-wrecking thrillers, so I was glad to read a suspenseful story with lighter events. It draws on many themes such as family relationships, motherhood, parenthood, loyalty, and loss.
The story of Little Fires Everywhere was written from multiple views, even diving into some of the minor characters’ experiences. The shifts between perspectives are done masterfully and all feel very natural. Although there may be lots of characters, I had no trouble keeping track of them at all.
In general I felt the female perspective was explored a bit more, which could put other characters at risk. We mainly read about Pearl, Izzy, Lexie, Mrs Richardson, and Mia Warren. A good chunk of their stories are spent on their experiences of being a woman, either growing up still or looking back on their younger years. This brings intricate topics into play that I will not address here for the sake of not spoiling anything!
The power of this story lies with the way it starts off at its climax, making you burn with questions throughout. Who are these people? What happened between them? What ignited the fire in the end?
Speaking of burning, the linguistic choices the writer made to hint at the little fires everywhere were also beautifully executed. I really enjoyed her play with the language. And as I mentioned before, I think the switches in perspective were creatively done as well.
In terms of critique, I only have two remarks to make. First of all, the way Mr Richardson was written, he felt like the most underdeveloped and unimportant character to me. Although we lingered on his perspective as a member of the Richardson family, he was definitely a side character. Other male perspectives also seemed to matter less in this story, although with them it bothered me less.
The reason why this bugged me a little, is because most characters received clear judgement from their peers. We are offered views of most of the characters through the perspectives of others, except for Mrs Richardson. I felt like her reputation was left in the middle most of the time. Yes, we know she is a reputable woman of upper-class status, but her relationship with the people closest to her (apart from Izzy) wasn’t really drawn out. You would expect that Mr Richardson would be able to give us a closer view of her, but I didn’t feel he was very connected to the rest of the story or characters.
Overall this is a definite must-read! The storyline and the way it was written make this fantastic entertainment. Little Fires Everywhere ignites thoughts on parenthood, on what is right and wrong, and the intricacies of being a woman. Truly a stunning book that I just couldn’t put down!
PS. It looks like Hulu will be bringing a mini-series adaptation of the story to the world soon, so if it’s available in your country you might want to check it out!