Book Reviews Erin's Book Challenge

Book Review: Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng

Shaker Heights is a perfect suburb in Cleveland where everything is meticulously planned right from the layout of the streets and the length of the grass to the successful and conformist lives the residents will lead. Elena Richardson embodies these rules without complaints and ensures her family including her husband and four children – Lexie, Trip, Moody and Izzy – follow them too. However, Izzy has always been the black sheep of the family and a difficult child.

Mia Warren arrives in this idyllic suburb with her teenage daughter, Pearl. Unlike most of Shaker Heights, Mia is a single mother, an artist who doesn’t live life according to rules. She rents a house from Mrs Richardson but soon, she and her daughter become more than just tenants as the Richardson teens are drawn to Mia and Pearl for different reasons.

When close family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle begins between the birth mother who is also a friend of Mia’s. Not only does this divide the community, it also puts Mia and Elena on opposite sides. Elena Richardson attempts to uncover Mia’s past to find out what her agenda really is. But sometimes, uncovering someone’s past when they want it hidden, can come with devastating consequences.

Having loved Ng’s previous novel, it was a no-brainer for me to pick up her latest offering and she didn’t disappoint. Her prose moves seamlessly between past and present as she slowly uncovers details about the Richardson family as well as the Warrens. She asks questions about the emphasis on perfection placed by society and the need to constantly aspire to be something, to follow the plans of life (go to uni, get married, get a job, buy a house, have children – in that order) and what happens when those plans are challenged by life itself. She also touches on the subtle racism that pervades western society. Ng beautifully explores parent-teen relationships showing readers how to engage ‘difficult’ teenagers.

The plot, while gripping, moves at a slow pace and that’s not a bad thing. It helps you savour Ng’s writing. and while the ending is not completely surprising, it is bittersweet. It makes you wonder about the characters and their future. You think about them long after you’ve closed the book.

My rating:

Where to find the author:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

***Read for Erin’s book challenge and linking with Denyse for Life this week and Alicia for Open Slather***

Until next time,

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  • Vanessa
    29 January 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Sounds really good!
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  • Cate@Life Behind The Purple Door
    29 January 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I read her first book, but have heard ixed reviews about this one, nice to know I really should put it on my list
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  • Sydney Shop Girl
    29 January 2018 at 7:57 pm

    I have just finished ‘Little Fires Everywhere’and loved it for the reasons you’ve outlined here, Sanch. Interestingly, I found “Everything I Never Told You’ really hard going but something made me start ‘Little Fires’ and I don’t regret it. Each character was so richly complex, I could never completely loathe or love any of them.

    SSG xxx
    Sydney Shop Girl recently posted…LA Story #6: MOCA. Monumental Words.My Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      29 January 2018 at 9:52 pm

      Oh that’s interesting about ‘Everything I never told you’. I fell in love with that and probably loved it more than this one as it’s in my top 5 books of all time. And yes, agree with you about the characters in this one.

  • Pratikshya Mishra
    30 January 2018 at 2:06 am

    This is the second review of this book I am reading today and that makes me sure that I want to grab it this next month. Liked your review. Such a gripping story line…
    Pratikshya Mishra recently posted…A Book I Loved #ChatterPromptsMy Profile

  • Lata Sunil
    30 January 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I am hearing a lot of good thins about this author. Hope to read her soon.
    Lata Sunil recently posted…The week that was #MondayMusings #chattyblogsMy Profile

  • Charlotte
    30 January 2018 at 3:13 pm

    I like books that challenge–or at least question–the natural order of life. Why must everything fall in line and in a particular order? College. Meet a mate. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Anyway, I keep hearing wonderful things about this author, too, and I haven’t yet heard of this book, but it sounds like a good read. I’ll have to add to the list, and thanks for a thoughtful review! XOXO
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  • Rachna Parmar
    30 January 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Enjoyed the short and crisp review. Will add this to my TBR list.
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  • Denyse
    30 January 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Well, I finally finished Eleanor Oliphant on the weekend and it was for me one of the most interesting and somewhat gripping story. I have now read your review too! I enjoyed the audible version particularly because of the excellent narrator who got the Scottish accents down perfectly.

    Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek 5/52. Next week’s optional prompt is “Starting School Memories”.
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  • Alicia O'Brien
    31 January 2018 at 10:39 am

    This sounds like an awesome book. I wish I could squeeze in some more time for reading! Love your reviews 🙂
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  • Soumya
    31 January 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Looks like you have successfully introduced me to another female author who I’m sure I’ll love. So, thank you 🙂

    This book has been on my TBR since it won the award at Goodreads. This is the second review I have read of this book in two days and both have been glowing. Now, I’m off to check your review of her previous books. Again, thanks to you I’ll be buying all of her books if I like her writing style. You’re spoiling me, woman!
    Soumya recently posted…Action Replay + Gratitude List: January 2018My Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      31 January 2018 at 8:21 pm

      I should become a PR person for authors…or a book marketing person! 😛 I’m sure you’ll enjoy her writing though.

  • Ramya Abhinand
    31 January 2018 at 7:27 pm

    So glad you enjoyed it too.. I loved every bit of the book, the characters, the portrayal of emotions, the subtle lessons strewn across…. I haven’t read any other books of hers, I ought to do so soon.

  • Suger
    1 February 2018 at 12:46 pm

    You’ve made this sound like such a wonderful read. I’m adding it to my reading list immediately! Should I be reading the other book you mentioned first or are they stand alone?
    Suger recently posted…Does your brand have personality?My Profile

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      1 February 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Oh they’re standalone books so the order does not matter 🙂

    1 February 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Your reviews are so delightful for they imbibe your feelings as you read the book – thats an awesome thing to convey across and for me thats why I just love your book reviews! This author is new to me and I am back to my no-buying spree but will bookmark for a borrow/steal 😉

  • Modern Gypsy
    2 February 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Sounds like a delightful read! I’m adding this, along with her previous book, to my TBR.
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