Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is HOT. Oh yeah. From the opening line - Everyone is Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down - to the last page, you will be mesmerized by this story. The characters are vivid. The writing is brilliant. And this book “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.” (cover blurb)
Shaker Heights is a community that conforms. And the Richardson family is key – Tripp (football star), Lexie (smart and popular), Moody (name fits), and Izzy (non-conformist). The kids chafe at the bit to be unique but it’s not in their DNA. Enter – Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl. Enigmatic artist and a young scholar. They rent the Richardson’s second house and become a part of the “family”. And yet, there’s conflict. Mia does her art, but also cooks and cleans. She also encourages a fellow immigrant woman to challenge for custody of her child from a Richardson best friend. The whole area is in an uproar. Meanwhile, Pearl is best friends with Moody, but ends up dating Tripp……how’s that brotherly love going to end? Lexie dates another guy, ends up pregnant, and uses Pearl’s name when she visits a clinic. Issues? Heck yeah. And Izzy. Oh Izzy……she’s transfixed and inspired by Mia’s photography and approach to the world.
No wonder there’s a conflagration on many levels. Celeste Ng has written an incredibly smart book. She knows people and delves deep into the psyche. I really liked this book and shall not give any more spoilers. The house burned down…………..and………….
Little Fires Everywhere will be on end of year lists for 2017. It’s hot. Check it out.