“To those out on their own paths, setting little fires”
Why Did I Read This Book?
A few years back now I used to run a similar blog to this and I did a feature about new book releases and Little Fires Everywhere was on that list. Having re-joined the book blogging world again, I’ve noticed many Bookstagram accounts and other bloggers reading and reviewing this particular book, as well as it more recently becoming a hit TV adaption series available on online streaming platform Hulu. So I’d be mad not to get a piece of the action, right?
What Did I Think?
OK, I’m not going to lie, I have previously tried to read this book but not got much further than the first couple of chapters. So this time, I was determined to make more progress. Having finally read the whole book, I now know why the book is titled Little Fires Everywhere. There are LOTS of different stories running alongside the main plot…who set fire to the Richardson’s family house? I have read a lot of books recently where the characters’ stories all intertwine with one another’s but this is different. It looks back on the characters’ history so we understand each character in more depth.
There are lots of female protagonists and I LOVE that. Yet upon finishing the book, I was sitting writing my notes and I had to question which character I felt I could relate to the most. Normally I find there’s always one standout character that I feel more closely too and can relate more to but for Little Fires Everywhere, I just couldn’t make my mind up.
I think what is really interesting is the town in which they live, Shaker Heights. The town was one of the first to be planned out so meticulously by its founders, along with set rules on how each house should look and how the families living there should behave.
“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn’t, you might burn the world to the ground.”
So once we understand this, it’s easier to understand how each character is conditioned by the town they live in. Mia, a mother who’s haunted by her past and constantly on the move so she can never fit in anywhere; Pearl (her daughter) is a teenager coming to terms with being in a brand new high school and by default finds herself part of the popular group, Lexie is one of the most popular girls at school and part of a prestigious family with strict morals to abide by, Izzy is an outcast and thought to be ‘strange’ by everyone who meets her and Mrs Richardson is a middle-class woman who has a reputation to uphold.
Now, what I admire is how Celeste Ng focuses on how each character struggles with what society thinks and expects from them and this is perhaps what makes the story so interesting.
I did thoroughly enjoy this read and I found myself forgetting what had happened in the first chapter, with the title reminding me that ‘oh yeah, we’re on the path to finding out who did it’. I love how Celeste Ng keeps you guessing until the very end to find out who did it and I think that’s what makes this book so gripping. It could be any one of the characters because they all have their own motives. I’m just glad it ended like it did, with the novel proving there’s always two sides to one story.
“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.”