Monday, February 4, 2019

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng was published in 2017

Blurb from Barnes and Noble: In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teen daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

I listened to the audio version of this book that was narrated by Jennifer Lim and enjoyed this story. Ng weaves a story of identity, of how mothers interact with daughters, and how those interactions can create little fires everywhere.

The story begins with Isabelle burning down her family home, and Ng doesn't let go of the reader until the very end. I loved the relationships between Isabelle and Mia and Pearl and Elena. I loved Mia's art and the role it plays in the story. There is symbolism and connections throughout the story. I look forward to reading this one again to pick up all the pieces I missed while trying to figure things out. This book shows that often we don't see what we have until it is nearly too late.

Read to a child today even if that child is you.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

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