Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Ng, Celeste 2018.03
Image included with permission from Penguin Press

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

Izzy Richardson does not follow the rules, and this is a problem for her mother, Elena Richardson, born and raised in Shaker Heights, and life-long rule follower. The older three Richardson children have all fallen in line with the life prescribed by their mother and their community, but when single mother Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl move into the family rental property, the children begin to see all sorts of new possibilities.

Pearl quickly finds a place in the solidity of the Richardson household, where everything is planned, steady and organized, a life very different from the one she has lived with her artistic mother, who has moved them around the U.S. her entire life. Meanwhile Izzy latches onto Mia, who seems to recognize something in Izzy that her family has neither seen or understood. As their worlds begin to thread together, a local polarizing incident causes everyone to take sides, lines are drawn, and secrets begin to come out.

Today there are many set rules for how things should be done: do well in school, drink eight glasses of water a day, get regular haircuts, don’t have a child out-of-wedlock, don’t watch too much TV, the list goes on and on. Not that these are bad rules to follow, the problem lies with believing that anyone who doesn’t play along is wrong or has made a mistake, as Ng so eloquently summarizes:

One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules… was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.”

The story also had some amazing insight on race, motherhood, and life as a minority in America. I would recommend this to someone looking for an insightful, deep, yet hopeful novel with a building pace, flawed characters who experience growth. If you were born in the early 80s you will probably enjoy the throwbacks to your youth as well, the novel is mostly set in the mid-late 90s.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Published on: September 12, 2017

I read this as: an eAudiobook from Audible

Women’s History Month Challenge

Women’s History Month Challenge

pexels-photo-261909

March is Women’s history month so to honor my fellow women I’m only reading books by female authors this month. Here are the books I’m committing to reading in March, hopefully I am able to get to them all (all blurbs are from Goodreads)

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott, published 2.20.18 – They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, published 9.12.17 – Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, published 2.6.18 – Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, published 2.28.17 – Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. 

What you don’t know about Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart, expected publication 3.27.18 – After a series of missteps in the face of his newly found fame, actor Charlie Outlaw flees to a remote island in search of anonymity and a chance to reevaluate his recent break-up with his girlfriend, actress Josie Lamar. But soon after his arrival on the peaceful island, his solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger he never anticipated.

Ayiti by Roxane Gay, expected publication 6.12.18 – bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayitiis a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. Originally published by a small press, this Grove Press paperback will make Gay’s debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories.

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, published 1.9.18 – Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.

I’ve got a few of these on hold at the library and I’m relying on them coming in the next few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for me that I get them soon! If you’ve read any of these let me know what you think, or read along with me and we can chat about them.

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson