Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publication Date: September 2017
Genre: Literary Thriller, Contemporary, General Fiction
Rating: 2/5 Stars
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.
First of all, congratulations to Little Fires Everywhere for winning the Goodreads Choice Award 2017 for Fiction! That’s also very impressive since this book only came out in September, so way to go!
Let me also say that this book has a lot of very positive reviews, so am definitely in the minority when I say I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t like this book more.
I did really like the story idea. I’m a sucker for well written, character-driven “literary thrillers”. I also liked the moral questions this book raised regarding the adoption that divides the town of Shaker Heights. There is some excellent social commentary surrounding race, culture, and what family actually means.
Unfortunately, those are the only parts of the book I enjoyed. I wasn’t a fan of Ng’s writing style. I was distracted when she heavily described minute details of the book, but glazed over important plot points.
I also felt like it took a long time to get to the actual plot of the book. It felt like the whole first half of the book was focused on introducing the characters, but in my case, I didn’t really like or connect with any of the characters.
I also didn’t like the audio version of the book. I don’t want to focus on this too much, but I’ve found recently that audiobooks that try to do different accents can be distracting and questionable and in this particular audiobook, I felt that.
If you absolutely loved this book and are wondering why the heck I didn’t, trust me, I’m right there with you.