Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere
I recently read Celeste Ng’s best selling novel, Little Fires Everywhere, and enjoyed the book. It is a very well written novel and worthy of a read.
From the beginning, things are happening. There is no set up that takes pages to develop. We dive right in. The Richardson home in the suburbs of Ohio has been burnt to the ground and the kids in the family believe, rightly, that their sister Izzy has set little fires everywhere throughout the house to burn it to the ground. The rest of the book is an explanation of why their sister, who the other kids run down as being strange, weird, disturbed, maybe is the sanest one of the bunch.
There are some good passages I underlined while reading:
“Did you have to burn down the old to make way for the new?” pg 160
“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn’t, you might burn the world to the ground.” pg 161
For the benefit of Penguin Press and additional editions, the word “the” was left out of the last paragraph on page 198. “Mia had boarded a Greyhound to Philly, then New York, with one suitcase and clothing and one of THE cameras.”
I also don’t understand why the word “laundromat” was capitalized on each use.
“Like after a prairie fire. I saw one, years ago, when we were in Nebraska. It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow.” pg 295
This really is a good book. There are more than the usual number of characters to keep up with, but it did not get to be too much. Each of them were unique.
Mrs. Richardson becomes something of an antagonist.
Pearl a victim of the actions of adults in her world.
Moody, also gets caught up in all the drama of his family and could be something more, but in the end, fails.
Lexie proves to be as dishonest as her mother in a different way.
Trip has his own guilt and shame, too.
Then there are the McCulloughs and we see adult self-interests, which over-ride the interests of children throughout the book, are alive and well in this other family.
We have Pearl’s mother, Mia. Running from her own demons and past.
And then we have Bebe, another adult who acted in her own self-interests and who tried to correct her ways.
I liked reading this book. The writing is authentic and real. The story is not outlandish. This is something that could happen. Maybe it has. Celeste Ng has done a good job with this work. You would be wise to pick up this book and give it a read.