I gave Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, 4/5 stars. Here’s my review.
Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celest Ng
Published: September 12, 2017
In Brief: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, is a story about secrets, division of classes, and the things a mother will do out of love and fear.
What a blast from the past. This book takes me back to my own late 1990s high school years, and I can relate so much to the daily lives of the Richardson children and their friend, Pearl. It was the perfect backdrop for this story, providing just the right level of access to information (or lack thereof, really) to make for a believable plot and turn of events.
The Richardson family lives in an affluent Cleveland suburb where everything is planned and regulated, right down to what color the houses are painted and what may be grown in the yards (flowers, never vegetables). The four Richardson teens spend their afternoons lazing around watching Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake.
These teens have secrecy and anonymity that is only plausible pre-smartphones and social media. Mrs. Richardson has to call around and actually drive to another city to learn the truth rather than gaining access with just a few clicks to a keyboard, which provides a window of opportunity for some sneaking around. The daily news comes in one-hour doses mid-evening on a television rather than being delivered real-time straight to one’s pocket, and this makes it easy to miss a big important story that changes everything.
My Rating & Review
The time-period was essential for the believability of this story, and was probably a huge factor in my enjoyment. I just don’t see this playing out the same way in the post-Y2K era. The plot overall was thought-provoking and emotional, especially, I think, for moms (and even more so for moms with daughters).
The characters could have used a bit more development, and there were some convenient coincidences that pulled me out of the story. But not enough to distract from the questions and debate this novel sparks, stirring you to think about people’s choices, actions, and reactions from different perspectives, which is the most important aspect for me.
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