Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

A Novel

Book - 2017
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From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, the intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives "I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. With brilliance and beauty, Celeste Ng dissects a microcosm of American society just when we need to see it beneath the microscope ..."--Jodi Picoult, New York Times -bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Press,, 2017
ISBN: 9780735224292
0735224293
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 24 cm

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#5 - A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa)


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4
437w59th
Jul 10, 2018

I read this book as part of a book group. For the first time I can recall, none of the members of the group liked the book. Strange, because usually at least one of us disagrees with the others! It was difficult to determine which of the many characters was the subject of the book. It was disjointed, had too many themes and tried to cover every type of social problem, without delving deeply into any of them. The characters were flat. It was difficult to feel empathy for any of them. The ending wasn't satisfactory.

j
jeanie123
Jul 04, 2018

I think the author was trying a bit too hard with this book to be all things to all audiences. It is quite the commentary, attempting the lofty subjects of inter-racial relationships, foreign adoptions, teen angst, surrogacy, perfectionism, the artistic mind, motherhood and fertility struggles, those who conform and those who are outliers, family secrets, loss, the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others. It is well-written but meanderingly pointless in my opinion. The book is set in the 1990's and I enjoyed that bit of nostalgia, particularly because there are a lot of teenagers in this book but no mobile phones or social media. Remember when?

t
talk2terih
Jun 26, 2018

First and foremost, author Ng is a marvelous writer. Her craft is impeccable. The characters in this book are so real that you will swear you have met them and known them somewhere.
This book is a study of motherhood, of all of the things motherhood is and is not, of how we mother and of how we fail to do so.
Secondarily it is about family, what defines a family, and how families interrelate. Although Ng focuses primarily on her female characters, her male characters are beautifully drawn and relatable. While they are slightly more stereotypical than the females (the jock, the angtsty brainiac, the diversity boyfriend, the dad, the frightened adoptive father, the hopeful surrogate father), they are still largely sympathetic characters that you can like and root for. And nearly all of them experience growth as the story unfolds.
Each character and each family has its flaws and strengths. None of these are bad people. Each is well-intentioned, but their POVs and opinions differ, and it is at these myriad points of contention that the wheel of this story turns.
This book is an exceptionally beautiful piece of work on many levels and I will look forward eagerly to future works by this author.

t
tjdickey
Jun 25, 2018

The characters and the web of their relationships will draw you in - each balances differently on the edge of control over their more volatile side (which is utterly human), and each experiences different paths to negotiate between ideals and reality. The story offers a window onto Shaker Heights (Cleveland), as a poignant suburban incarnation of the exact same tension between ideals and the messiness of human reality. Passion and propriety, the prismatic shifts of adolescent growing pains, the burden of others' expectations upon us, and the numberless facets of belonging to a community, a culture, a family - all smolder within different visions of mother-daughter relationships.

k
Kdozer
Jun 24, 2018

It starts slow, picking up the pace until it becomes a unstoppable page turner. I loved it and found the characters and story complex and believable. Ng is compassionate and insightful about the complexities of humans.

s
slgriffith
Jun 20, 2018

Stunning. WELL worth the 6-month wait on the holds list. The kind of book you sink into and don't want to surface from. A treasure of a novel.

d
dirtbag
Jun 19, 2018

Found this a bit preachy in a way that seems inappropriate in an author who is so young.

s
southendsnob
Jun 16, 2018

Very well written book, deep character development. Very good book.

p
purplehaze77
Jun 13, 2018

I enjoyed this book. It was definately a page turner for me, however I have to say I was a little disappointed with the ending. Perhaps the writer is leaving it that way to be able to write a sequel...not sure, but it is definately a good summer read.

a
amistein
Jun 12, 2018

Ami-summer/read by end of 2018

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TheBookWitch Apr 14, 2018

"To a parent, your child wasn't just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she'd been and the child she'd become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again." p. 122

ArapahoeMaryA Mar 15, 2018

Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“…his life had been divided into a before and an after, and he would always be comparing the two.” - p. 21

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or, perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame; a reminder of light and goodness that would never - could never - set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity. The key, she thought, was to avoid conflagration.” - p. 161

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn't, you might burn the world to the ground.” - p. 161

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules... was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.” - p. 269

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way… Like after a prairie fire… It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow… People are like that, too, you know. They start over. They find a way.” - p. 295

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Mya614
Mar 04, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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