I recently finished Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. This book came to be in my possession via Book of the Month Club for September 2017. If you would like to learn more about BOTM click here.
The anticipation for this book was high. I had listened to several of my regular book podcasts who all gushed about it which resulted in me being anxious and excited for it to come in the mail so I could read it. Then it came. I opened it, and it sat. I read it this month because a friend liked it AND it is a book club book. (We are meeting soon.)
I love Celeste Ng’s writing. I enjoyed Everything I Never Told You which I also read for a book club several years ago. There is a certain mystery to the storylines that Ng composes that I enjoy. The two books have this characteristic in common.
Family drama is prevalent in this book. If you enjoy reading stories about messed up people, this book is for you. I don’t gravitate toward drama too much – in real life or my book selections. The family storyline reminds me of Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. The character/family threads are somewhat interwoven in Fires but I found them irritating, not intriguing.
I most enjoyed Mia in the book. She is an artist, she has a daughter, an interesting family history, and forms a close relationship with a college professor and a poet. She was well written and I cared about her.
Overall, I had a hard time getting through this book. I would pick it up, read a few pages and then put it down. I do not prefer to read this way.
A couple favorite quotes:
(The “she” in this quote is Mrs. Richardson.)
She had been brought up to follow rules, to believe the proper functioning of the world depended upon her compliance, and follow them – and believe- she did. She had a plan, from girlhood on, and had followed it scrupulously: high school, college, boyfriend, marriage, job, mortgage, children. A sedan with airbags and automatic seat belts. ..
Now here was this Mia, a completely different woman leading a completely different life, who seemed to make her own rules with no apologies.
The first part resonates with me because I too had a life plan. My life now looks very different than I thought it would in my teenage years. There is an internal struggle flavor to this section of the book that I gravitate toward in my reading and my own writing so I find that extraordinarily appealing. There is a contrast here between these two characters and an envy on the part of Mrs. Richardson. The life that Mia leads is the most interesting part of the book for me.
The description of the book is magical in places. There is a slightly open ending and it is not neat and tidy at the end which I prefer. As to not spoil anything, I will just say I want to know where 3 characters end up and what happens to them after the last page was read. I have my own storyline I have given them – that will have to do!
I would love to hear from you in the comments if you read the book and liked it not.