Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Published: September 2017
Summary: The Richardson family, all six of them, are just what a Shaker Heights family was meant to be. Elena, the mother of the family, is a journalist for the local paper, her husband is a successful attorney, and three of their four high-school-aged children are exactly what they should be — popular, athletic, good at school, etc. Their youngest daughter, Izzy, did not receive that message and marches to her own beat, which is distinctly in contrast with the rest of her family. Across town, Mia Warren is a single mom to teen daughter Pearl, making ends meet to support her art, often moving from town to town as it moves her, uprooting her daughter along with her. When they move to Shaker Heights and rent from the Richardsons, these very different families intersect, seeing and experiencing the world in very different ways.
Thoughts: This was really a 4.5 star read. Really great writing coupled with a compelling and insightful story makes this a must read. The book gives you the chance to hear from a whole host of characters, but mainly centers around the Richardsons and the Warrens. There is a slight undertone of thriller/mystery as you get to know these characters and their backstory, trying to piece together how the opening scene came to be, but mostly this was a depiction of the phrase “there are always two sides to every story.” You as the reader get to see both sides of divisive issues as experienced by those directly and indirectly involved. You learn to understand how each side believes themselves to be in the right or justified and that the other side is wrong or less deserving. The reader gets the unique experience of seeing both sides, understanding the struggles of both and ultimately coming to realize that there rarely is a right and wrong. If only Celeste Ng could pen a story like this for all the divisive issues of our country to help everyone understand each other a bit more and give out a little more kindness.
The characters in this book, and there were many, seemed so full of dimension and authenticity. This book explores the day-to-day minutiae of life in an American suburb, but is also explores some of the uglier sides of our society in a way that felt real and fair to all sides. The book just felt like such an insightful glimpse into a community in the U.S., warts and all.