Little Fires Everywhere has exploded on to our screens recently and it has led me to re-read one of my favourite books of all time (quite a bold statement I know). Celeste Ng’s novel tells a story of order and control and what happens when that control slips from your grasp. When everything that you have fought for, everything that you love and everything that you have run from, finally starts to crumble.
Little Fires Everywhere centres around Elena Richardson who is essentially Shaker Heights’ wonder mom. She lives the ideal life in her beautiful home, has a career as a journalist, has four well behaved children and a husband who adores her. Her life is seemingly perfect until mysterious artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl take up tenancy in the Richardson’s rental home. Mia Warren is the unknown, she has a totally different set of ideals in comparison to Elena and a close relationship with her daughter Pearl: a bond that seems unbreakable.
The two families soon become entwined in each other’s lives, each finding something that they are lacking in the other. Pearl seeks the stability that the Richardson’s family appear to have. While Izzy, Elena’s youngest daughter, craves to be heard, to be different than a carbon copy of her older sister and to be accepted for who she is which she finds in Mia.
Elena and Mia’s awkward relationship is portrayed brilliantly, leaving the reader cringing with embarrassment as these women, who are the polar opposite of each other, constantly clash with their ideals of motherhood leaving Elena vowing to uncover Mia’s secrets.
Their fraught relationship comes to blows when the Richardson’s friends attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, leading to an explosive custody battle that leaves the town divided and Elena and Mia on opposing sides. Ng explores wealth and race within Shaker Heights and the power it can wield over its characters, showcasing the Richardson’s to have always been given the best choices in life due to their privilege. Whereas characters like Mia, have had to make the best choices in the circumstances they have been dealt with in life.
Ng has a way of creating atmospheric scenes that builds and builds tension within its pages; right up until the very last sentence. Her book delves into the questions on motherhood, what makes a mother? Is it biology or upbringing? And how far would you go to protect your children.
We rate it: 5/5
Little Fires Everywhere is available on Amazon. Click here to view now.
Reviewed by Grace Collins
Hi, I’m Grace, a twenty-something gal based in South Wales with my two cats. You can always find me with my head stuck in a book! Follow my Instagram page @thecwtchbookclub for more recommendations and reviews.
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