This post is long over-due. In early August I posted about how I was looking forward to LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng. I did in fact receive it the day it came out (thanks Amazon Prime!). Within two days I had finished this stunning novel.
Celeste Ng quickly became one of my favorite writers after I read her debut EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU. From there I sought out her short stories and anticipated her second book.
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE is set in a small town in Ohio and follows the intertwining of the lives of two families. One family is comprised of lifelong residents with a matriarch who adheres and loves the unwritten rules of the town. The other family is a pair–a mother and daughter who appear to be more eccentric. There is also a custody battle playing out in the town between a white family, a Chinese baby, and the baby’s biological mother.
One of the elements I enjoy about Ng is that she writes characters that feel incredibly real–they are not 100% likeable nor 100% dislikeable. I am nothing like Elena Richardson, the matriarch, nor would I likely be friends with someone with her views but there were still moments where the reader could sympathize with her and not demonize her. Though it easy to love Mia Warren are her free-spirited way there are moments we recognize her as deeply flawed.
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE is a compelling novel about motherhood, secrecy, race, and even–to an extent–moral ambiguity.