Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
“But the problem with rules, he reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do something. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on ”
This book focuses on the Richardsons, an idealistic suburban family; Mr Richardson a hotshot lawyer, Mrs Richardson a housewife cum reporter and the Richardson children; Lexi, Trip, Moody and Izzy. They live happily in their 6 bedroom house and had all the material belongings they could long for, but each had a void in their life. This would be filled in some way or another by Mia and her daughter Pearl, new tenants in one of Mrs Richardson’s properties. We watch the two families grow close and form relationships only to be divided by a custody battle taking place in the town.
Celeste Ng is an up and coming author who has successfully written multiple books mainly in the contemporary genre. This is the first book I have ready by her and I originally chose it because it has won the award for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2017 in the fiction category. This book has definitely intrigued me to read more of her work.
The viewpoint of the story is told from that of an all-knowing being. A narrator who can dip in and out of the relationships and feelings of the characters without imposing on the plot. For this particular book, I think this works really well as each character has their own side story going on as well as the main plot which has been woven through all of them.
My favourite character has to be Pearl. She’s Mia’s teenage daughter and has never had a chance to really be a teenager. We see Pearl blossom from this shy, quiet, little girl in her shell to this bold, confident woman who takes her relationships and responsibilities seriously. For me this is why I loved this book; each character is on a journey and we get to see them grow and develop from the beginning of the book all the way to the end. My least favourite character has to be Mrs Richardson, but not because she was written poorly or lacking in any way, but she was subtly the villain of the book with her rules and regulations and everything being just so. You could see her logic behind her decision but as a reader, I couldn’t help but dislike her because she was so unlikeable. Again, this was another very strong point for this book, to have a central character who has been written so well that the reader can both dislike and empathise with her is amazing and proof of great writing and character building.
My favourite part of the book was when Mrs Richardson was trying to uncover the truth about Mia. On one hand, you could see Mrs Richardson using her questionable reporting abilities to discover the truth, on the other hand, you can see the rest of the characters continuing their lives with significant moments which as a reader gives you some foreshadowing for what is going to happen. This didn’t make the book predictable but intriguing and even when I finished the book I wanted to continue and carry on following the characters.Oh the ending! It was a cliffhanger in the sense that we have no idea what our characters are going to do next because they are all at a bit of an impasse, however the stories in the book have all been wrapped up. I think the ending was very fitting because throughout the book as a reader we were always wanting more and asking questions which remained unanswered however this added to the mystery of the book.
This book was more of an edge-of-your-seat experience. There were not any points that dragged and I thought that all the back story and character history provided by the author was relevant and as a reader, helped us understand why these characters were the way they were. I would say the only other book I have read which has a similar blend of mystery and thriller is Young Adult novel We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. However, this particular book has more of a sinister thill which I particularly enjoyed.
Overall, this book was not what I expected. I thought it would be an easy contemporary book with not that much depth. However, this book goes into issues that are difficult to talk about and really makes you question what you would do in that particular situation. Overall the book was an intriguing yet thrilling read. It was mysterious because as I mentioned before, the foreshadowing helped the reader to figure out where each piece of the puzzle was going to go, yet when they did slot into place is still felt unexpected and shocking. I would highly recommend it to mystery/thriller/suspense lovers because this book is definitely a bubbling pot of relationships and love and family with something sinister underneath.