Little Fires Everywhere
No spoilers :)
The first book I want to talk about is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I know it’s not good practice to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what initially drew me to this book. I think that the cover art is beautiful, and I remember seeing several commuters reading it in London on the Tube, and it really grabbed my attention. Then the title grabbed my attention because it was clever and mysterious at the same time. It made me stop and wonder what this book could be about, and I’ve come to love the title even more after finishing the book.
Basic Plot Summary
Mia and her daughter Pearl move to Shaker Heights, near Cleveland, to start a new chapter of their lives. They’ve always been on the road, and they’ve never lived anywhere for too long. This is because Mia is an artist, and she has to pick up and move to keep her inspiration for her photography work. She works odd jobs and part time jobs, making just enough for her and Pearl to get by. They love to go thrifting, and they’re very content with a simple life.
When they move to Shaker Heights, it is supposed to be more stable and long-lasting then their previous homes. Mia and Pearl rent a tiny home from the Richardson family, who are the ideal model of what a Shaker Heights family should be (or are they?). Mia automatically doesn’t feel as if she fits in, but her and Pearl find their way in this new society, and they befriend this family. The rest of the novel follows the relationship between these two families, while they observe a major custody battle within their community. It forces families and friends to take sides, but it’s hard for anyone to choose a definite side.
This is a story of self discovery for a lot of the characters. They must learn to come to terms with reality and decide what kind of person that they wish to be.
What I Loved About the Book
First, I loved the setting of the story. This story was set in Shaker Heights, Ohio, which is a planned community outside of Cleveland. This book dove into the history of the area and described their unique ways of living. I learned what a tree lawn was. It was such a unique area that I had never heard about, so I think that made it more interesting to me.
Second, I loved the characters. Mia and Pearl were my favorites. I think that the are the underdogs of the story, and that’s why I was rooting for them. Mia is a special character to me, and I loved getting to read about a photographer trying to make a living off of her conceptual photography career—she never gave up her dream, and she’s content with the life she made for her family.
Third, I really love some of the themes presented in this book. I loved exploring the idea that people are very different, and they find happiness and contentment in very different ways. Some people don’t need your pity or your charity. You can let someone simply be who they are. It’s not up to you to control someone else’s life or the perception that people have of someone else. Isn’t it enough to simply be a kind human being? Listen to one another and appreciate one another. There are so many more themes that more complex than this that I’ll let you dive into for yourself.
From the beginning of the book, you know where the story is going, and it’s fun to be able to find out how the story gets to where it ends up. The opening pages are very unique because they describe an entire scene and how various people notice (or not) the “big event.”
I think this story will cause you to think about important issues and where you stand on them. It will also show you that you never know how you’re going to react to a hard and difficult situation when it comes.
Be careful of your actions. You never know what sparks will ignite, causing damage to you or others.
“All up and down the street the houses looked like any others—but inside them were people who might be happy, or taking refuge, or steeling themselves to go out into the world, searching for something better. So many lives she would never know about, unfolding behind closed doors.”
I’ll let you take some time to ponder that quote, but I know that those words are really special to me. If you find some in this book that are special to you, let me know in the comments.
“To those out on their own paths, setting little fires”