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Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,6632931,380 (4.02)182
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, the intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives "I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. With brilliance and beauty, Celeste Ng dissects a microcosm of American society just when we need to see it beneath the microscope ..."--Jodi Picoult, New York Times -bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time 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 teenaged 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. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.… (more)
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» See also 182 mentions

English (289)  German (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (292)
Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
I can see why this book is getting so much hype-- it's beautifully crafted and tackles a lot of interesting issues. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
I have very mixed feelings about this. From the start I found myself both unsettled and irritated by it, I disliked the setting and most of the characters and it pushed alot of hot button issues for me. However, it was recomended by a friend so I decided to perserve and I am still not sure, now that I have finished it. I did get carried along with much of the story and it was very thought provoking and certainly did not wrap it all up in a nice bow at the end but it was hard to enjoy reading it when I found so many of the characters either deeply unlikable or deeply frustrating.
  amyem58 | Sep 19, 2021 |
I read this as part of Ekpe’s Book Club. It is a very interesting and thought-provoking read. It’s not a book to read to escape real life so much as it is one that describes real people and real life—every character here has major flaws and positive aspects to them. Lots to think about with over-planning and the role of rules in our lives, as well as familial relationships. ( )
  bentleymitchell | Aug 27, 2021 |
Well written book, the pace engaging, keeps the readers interested till the end. The characters are well developed and you develop a sense of familiarity with all of them ( )
  Islandmum84 | Jul 28, 2021 |
"Most of the time, everyone deserves more than one chance. We all do things we regret now and then. You just have to carry them with you." This idea animates the plot and character development in this magnificent book and is something I think we all need to keep in mind. All of us do things we regret. ALL OF US. Those who deny that basic fact about themselves find it easy to judge others harshly and with no sense of hypocrisy. We allow this to happen at our peril as a civilization. I'm a very rules bound person, I think that rules that apply equally to everyone make the world a definable and livable place. But sometimes the rules are "broken" for reasons that need to inform your view, think of the difference between someone stealing a loaf of bread to feed their family versus bankers embezzling funds to just live a more disgustingly ostentatious lifestyle. Motive matters. Circumstances matter. Everything matters. As Ms. Ng writes, "but the problem with rules, he reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply 'ways,' none of them quite wrong ore quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on." The real word is not black and white, it is shades of gray. I was amazed at how the plot moved around in this book, nothing is out of place but much is not predictable. I found myself totally invested in the characters in the book. I was eager to see where things went and cared deeply both when bad things happened and good things. I found the breadth of the novel breathtaking and yet it went fast and I wanted more. A great book. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ng, Celesteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lim, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mudder, MarianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Whether you buy a homesite in the School Section, broad acres in the Shaker Country Estates, or one of the houses offered by this company in a choice of neighborhoods, your purchase includes facilities for golf, riding, tennis, boating; it includes in unexcelled schools; it includes protection forever against depreciation and unwelcome change.
---Advertisement, The Van Sweringen Company,
Creators and Developers of a Shaker Village
Actually, though, all things considered, people from Shaker Heights are pretty much like people everywhere else in America. They may have three or four cars instead of one or two, and they may have two television sets instead of one, and when a Shaker Heights girl gets married she may have a reception for eight hundred, with the Meyer Davis band flown in from New York, instead of a wedding reception for a hundred with a local band, but these are all differences of degree rather than fundamental differences. "We're friendly people and we have a wonderful time!" Said a woman at the Shaker Heights Country Club recently, and she was right, for the inhabitants of Utopia do, in fact, appear to lead a rather happy life.
---"The Good Life in Shaker Heights," Cosmopolitan, March 1963
Dedication
To those out on their own paths, setting little fires
First words
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.
Quotations
Remember, Mia had said: Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over.  After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow.  People's are like that, too.  They start over.  They find a way.
"Some pictures, " Mia said, " belong to the person who took them.  And some belong to the person inside them...."
Every bedroom was empty except for the smell of gasoline and a small crackling fire set directly in the middle of each bed, as if a demented Girl Scout had been camping there.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, the intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives "I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. With brilliance and beauty, Celeste Ng dissects a microcosm of American society just when we need to see it beneath the microscope ..."--Jodi Picoult, New York Times -bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time 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 teenaged 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. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

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