Little Fires Everywhere: Detailed and In Depth but is it Enough? || A Book Review

Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Released: September 7th, 2017

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback

Characters: Mia, Pearl, Elena Richardson, Izzy, Lexie, Bebe Chow, …


Before I get into the synopsis and the review, I just want to thank Max from Maxxesbooktopia for willing to buddy read this book with me even though I was like half a book late compared to him. I am so glad to have someone to talk to after I finished reading Little Fires Everywhere. Thank you, Max! Click here to check out his full length, no spoiler book review on Little Fires Everywhere.

Now, let’s get into our book review routine!

Everyone in 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.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours 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 principal is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

This book really stood out for me. It’s solid and very detailed, not like the annoyingly detailed, but it’s more like every backstory and explanation has a reason behind it and I love it! The characters, I don’t necessarily like or hate them, but what I like to see is their development as well as their background story. For characters like Mrs. Richardson a.k.a Elena Richardson, the change in her beliefs and spirit was refreshing for me. Is it a good change or a bad change? Well, you gotta read to know. *smirk* For Mia, our main character, I really love her backstory and how everything about her just pieced up together and her intentions were exposed layer by layer, I think it’s brilliant! However, I think it’s a bit overdone for reallllllyyyy minor character, which could be a bit misleading when the author gave an almost detailed backstory to them as well.

Going into the plot line, again, what to hate? For me, the pacing was just right and the plot developed well. Maybe the first few chapters were quite confusing as the mysteries were just started to emerge(?). Other than that, it went really well for me. But let’s take a second to talk about the ending. If you have read this book, let me know what did you feel about the ending down below without spoilers. This would be interesting! I was like, this can’t be it. THAT’S IT?! Then, everything just stayed blank, my brain couldn’t even think anymore.

“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.”
― Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

The themes is another reason to love this book. It really brings out the theme of mother-child relationship. It’s being highlighted through Mia and Pearl, Mrs. Richardson and Izzy as well as little Mirabelle/ May Ling with Mrs. McCullough and her birth mother, Bebe Chow. All of these relationships show a different dimension to the theme and I really enjoyed reading them. They are all so different that you just want more of it. The second theme is on the identity and cultural aspect. Again, the debate on this topic was highlighted so well in this book, which I highly appreciate. And guys, THIS IS WHAT WE NEED! THIS IS WHAT WE CALL REPRESENTATION DONE RIGHT!

“To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all at the same time. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she’d been and the child she’d become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again.” 
― Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

In the end, there were few things that felt unsettling for me, such as there has to be more to Mia’s character. Something about her was incomplete for me. For Izzy, that poor, poor kid. I need to know how she turned out. However, overall, to me, this book is written with patience and lots of effort. Highly recommend it!

4 thoughts on “Little Fires Everywhere: Detailed and In Depth but is it Enough? || A Book Review

  1. Hi Jessica! You are welcome! I really hope we do another buddy-read soon and this review is really gorgeous😍 Also, I agree with you about the ending, it felt like the seams of the story did not tie up well.

    Liked by 1 person

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