Tag Archives: Family

Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

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.

Advertisements

Review: My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling
By Gabriel Tallent
Riverhead Books, 9780735211179, August 2017, 432pp.

*Trigger Warning: Child Abuse/Sexual Abuse*

The Short of It:

An impossibly brave girl, her abusive father and the relationship they have between them will keep you turning the pages but it’s brutal and raw and gut-wrenching at times.

The Rest of It:

The title might suggest affection, but it’s the twisted “affection” that this father displays for his fourteen-old that will have you squirming every time he enters the room. Friends, this was a tough read. Why so tough? Because as you might not guess, the girl, known as Turtle, loves her father deeply. She realizes at a very young age that they are both damaged and there is a beauty in that. A beauty that is constantly evaluated as these two co-exist in a town, that for the most part, turns a blind eye to what is going on.

How can two damaged people survive without one another? Is it even possible? That is the question and the author does a very good job of presenting the love/hate relationship that these two have. I actually caught myself pitying the father at one point. And for every ounce of pity I had for him, I had the same amount of anger for Turtle. I caught myself putting some of the blame on her and then I’d put the book down and sit there shaking my head over it.

This author wrings all the feelings out of you. For those who have read the book, I’m not sure the ending worked for me but thinking about it, I’m not sure what exactly I’d change if I could.

As I noted at the top of this review, this book could be a trigger for anyone who suffered from child abuse or sexual abuse of any kind and it’s not clearly noted anywhere in the blurbs I’ve read.

My Absolute Darling has what I would call one of the most complex protagonists ever. Turtle is damn near feral but she’s so vulnerable and fragile too. If you can stomach the abuse that she suffers, then you will be rewarded with beautiful prose. At times I was reminded of A Little Life which gut-punched me over and over again.

An important read, but read with care.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.