Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng
Penguin Press, Hardcover, 9780735224292, September 12, 2017, 352pp.
The Short of It:
The essence of motherhood can be shown in so many ways, a photograph of a mother holding a child, a mother gazing through a window at a child who is no longer hers, a mother’s contempt for her own daughter. All these things come together in this beautifully told story.
The Rest of It:
The story opens with Izzy burning down her house. From the moment of conception, Mrs. Richardson knew that this child would be different from her other children and as Izzy grows into a young woman, Mrs. Richardson wonders if she will ever have a relationship with her that isn’t wrought with frustration and worry.
Izzy doesn’t get along with anyone in her family but does get along with Mia and her daughter, Pearl. Mia and Pearl are renters of a little apartment owned by Izzy’s family. Although they are renters, Pearl is more a part of the family than Izzy is, always hanging out at the main house with the other kids. Mia, a photographer by trade, makes ends meet by taking odd jobs and eating leftover takeout but she has a way with Izzy and even Izzy is surprised by this.
There are many stories within this novel as each character finds his or her way but ultimately, it’s a story about motherhood and what it means to be a family. As these characters interact with each other and their story lines begin to cross, secrets are revealed and they are forced to look closely at themselves in the mirror. We find out why Izzy burns the house down and somehow we can relate.
I really loved this beautifully written novel and it will most definitely be on my list of faves at the end of the year. Everything came together so beautifully. Not perfectly tied-up with a bow but realistically and with hope. I plowed through those final pages and then read the last page over and over again.
Have you read it? If not, I highly recommend it.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.
28 thoughts on “Review: Little Fires Everywhere”
I haven’t read it yet, but of course have seen it everywhere. I’ll definitely pick it up now that you’ve given it such a thumbs up! What’s better than a story about the intricacies of motherhood and family? Enjoyed your review!
It will have you thinking about motherhood and all of its challenges along with all the precious moments we sweep aside during our busy days.
So glad you loved it, Ti! Her earlier novel was a favorite a couple of years ago and I’m really looking forward to reading this one.
I liked this one better than her first novel.
It’s such a unique and beautiful story. I loved it.
When you think about a story centered around motherhood you wonder what else there is to tell but there was so much to tell in this one. Motherhood, regarded from all angles. Ng’s perspective is what won me over with this one.
I have this one on my shelf, but have yet to read it. Sounds like I need to pick it up sooner, rather than later. Your review makes me want to read it ASAP 🙂
I can see you enjoying this one.
I listened to this and wanted more out of the ending. Maybe I need to find a print copy and re-read the ending.
I felt like the ending was perfect. If it had ended any other way, it would not have felt realistic to me. Maybe the audio ending didn’t do it justice.
Lovely review. Appreciate your focus on Izzy. Interesting that you reread the last page several times. Now I must go back and do the same. Ng is a gifted writer for sure. I look forward to more novels from her, albeit from her website we can read her short stories. The storyline of Bebe is from one of them.
It opens with Izzy and ends kind of ends with her. Full circle. I liked that visual and I liked the possibility of her becoming something other than the misfit she was originally thought to be.
I loved this one, too. I admit that it was a little hard to get into right away but the way the theme of motherhood permeates this entire novel is amazing. I wish I could write like that!
And what’s amazing is that as a reader, it’s almost impossible to take sides. You feel for, and can relate to nearly every character in the book and that’s so rare.
Reading it now and totally loving it.
It made me a little sad as the anniversary of my mother’s passing is coming up on the 15th but it was one of those books that you finish and then ponder for a really long time.
Glad to know you like this so much. I have the audio, maybe I’ll get to it soon.
I heard from another reader that she liked the audio but didn’t like the book all that much. I don’t know if the audio played a role in that or not but the print version I really loved.
I really love this author and enjoyed this one very much. Did you read her first book, Everythibg I Never Told You. Family dysfunction at its finest😬
I did read her first book but wasn’t all that impressed by it. It made for a good book club discussion but I remember not really thinking too much of it.
I loved this one! I struggled so much to define what it was about. It is about motherhood and growing up and identity and so much more. You are attracted to and yet repulsed by each of the characters at some point in time throughout the novel. Just a superb story and excellent writing.
I’m not sure how a man would take this novel or even a woman who hasn’t experienced motherhood or wanted to be a mother. I felt like Ng captured the complexity of motherhood. I kept thinking of a prism and how it throws so many different colors around. That’s how I feel sometimes as a mom. Sometimes it’s glorious, sometimes just a dull shine. Sometimes it’s out of control throwing colors everywhere. And think about how we would look under that lens. Distorted. Pieced together. I could go on and on.
I tried this on audio and didn’t like listening to it, now I’m on my library’s wait list to read it. I feel like this will be better in print. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
You are the third person to say that about the audio.
I have seen a few reviews of this book, but haven’t picked it up yet. It is on my TBR list so maybe I’ll get to it this summer or one of my longer vacations.
I haven’t read anything by this author. This sounds good.
I haven’t read it just yet but I’m on the wait list for it. So glad you liked it. Makes me more eager to read it. I read and liked her first book but many are saying they actually like this one a bit more. She’s a perceptive writer. Going to get to it.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than her first.