Little Fires Everywhere

Hello Literary Babes,

 Little Fires Everywhere starts with a beautiful home ablaze then it's a slow burn to the heart of the story.  A clear economic divide is woven through the narrative, set in an upper class neighborhood called, "Shaker Heights."  A suburban utopia, that offers amenities like golf, tennis, boating and a Country Club.  Diverse female characters mingle amongst each other as their lives intercept due mostly because of their children.  

Mia, a single mother and artist/photographer, living a nomadic lifestyle with her fifteen year old daughter in tow, manages to rent a duplex not far from this utopia from the Richardson's.  It was the second floor of a duplex on Winslow Road.  Pearl settles in quicker than her mother in the Cleveland neighborhood and becomes a regular at the Richardson's main house.

The Richardson's have four children, Izzy, Lexie, Trip and Pearl's new best friend, Moody.  They each have unique personalities with Izzy being the youngest and most temperamental.  They live a privileged life because Mrs. Richardson was raised to follow rules, to believe the the proper functioning of the world depended upon her compliance, and follow them, and believe, she did.

Other families and characters are introduced as life goes on in Shaker Heights.  The McCullough's with their insatiable desire and drive to have a child, which resulted in several miscarriages, and Bebe, a Cantonese girl who becomes Mia's co-worker and friend at The Lucky Palace, a Chinese restaurant where Mia works part time

Then behind the facade of it all, things start happening in their perfect little town, like little fires.  First, there was a photo of Mia and a little baby, titled, "Virgin and Child #1" right there, in the town museum amidst Caravaggio and Velázquez by the artist Pauline Hawthorne.  What was Mia doing in a photo in an art museum?

Then, there was an abortion, a secret from her mother, and an abandoned asian baby, in the wee hours, on a cold night, left in front of a fire station.  The twist and turns are gripping and intricate like the largest freeway overpass in a bustling metropolitan city, each exit with it's own story.

The beautiful little asian girl that was left abandoned, found her way into the arms of the ever deserving and loving couple the McCullough's.  They named her Mirabelle which means wonderful beauty.

Now, the heart of the story unravels with an adversarial and direful trial for little baby Mirabelle also known as May Ling Chow.  Who will get to keep the baby?  The biological mother or the McCullough's.  After all she was abandoned, her biological mother did not want her, why is she coming back now?  Should she be forgiven?

In the end, we are back to the fire.  Who really lit the fire?  Some people stayed in Shaker Heights, and some left, but you'll have to read the book to find out more.

A sample excerpt:

All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing.  It so easily went out of control.  It scaled walls and jumped over trenches.  Sparks leapt like fleas and spread rapidly; a breeze could carry ember for miles.  Better to control that spare and pass it carefully from one generation to the nest, like an Olympic torch.  Or perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame: a reminder of light and goodness that would never - could never - set anything ablaze.  Carefully controlled.  Domesticated.  Happy in captivity.  The key, she thought, was to avoid conflagration. 

The ending left me a little unsatiated.  I wanted to know more.  What happened to them.  Will there be a sequel?  I would love to tell you more about the story but don't want to spoil it for you.  I did enjoy the book and recommend it, hopefully it will spark little fires in you.

Have you read it?  Leave your review in the comments below.  What did you think?

This is Celeste Ng's second novel.  (It's pronounced "-ing.")

Intrigued?  Need a copy?  Get it here:  Little Fires Everywhere

Thanks for reading.

The Literary Babe


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