As a former English teacher and lover of literature, I wanted to work some book reviews into the blog, since I am normally my friends’ go to person for book suggestions when they travel. Don’t worry, I have a whole list planned with my very favorite books to read on vacation, but I thought I would start with a book I recently read that would make a great addition to your kindle library.
I picked up Little Fires Everywhere because I absolutely loved Celeste Ng’s first novel, Everything I Never Told You. I know this review is for Little Fires Everywhere, but if you have never read Everything I Never Told You, I highly suggest it. It is a deeply emotional read, but it is incredibly well-written and will have you thinking about your own relationships and the things that go unsaid.
That aside, I very much enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere. The novel has Ng’s characteristic style of extremely strong writing, mystery, and impressive character development. She again explores family relationships, and how small, seemingly unimportant rifts in communication and interaction can eventually lead to one huge disaster. Little Fires Everywhere is structured the same way as Everything I Never Told You in that we know what the crisis is from the beginning, but we have to work backwards as readers to figure out why it happened.
Little Fires Everywhere centers primarily around two families, and explores the rigidity in which we stick to our own values and beliefs. There is deep unhappiness in the novel, and an evaluation of the American Dream and all that it entails. The two families become intertwined as mother and daughter Mia and Pearl Warren rent a guesthouse from the wealthy Richardson family in seemingly idyllic Shaker Heights, Ohio. Moody Richardson, one of the Richardson’s sons, befriends Pearl Warren, and the two become inseparable. Mia is an artist, and she and Pearl have never lived anywhere for long. They are proud of their ability to pack all of their belongings into their car and leave at a moment’s notice. Meanwhile, the Richardsons live in one of the largest homes in Shaker Heights, and have a seemingly perfect family with four children, all bound for success. As the plot unfolds, the two families have to deal with each other’s secrets and complicated pasts.
The novel is certainly not a happy one, and it made me think deeply about how we view success as Americans. It was also an examination of how we tend to perceive other cultures in suburbia America, and the importance of understanding where one comes from. If you’re looking for a well-written, thought provoking read for a long flight or train ride, this is a great book. I love Celeste Ng and the way she views the world. Anyone with complicated family drama can certainly relate to these two families and the way we do, or don’t, express our feelings.
Have you read Little Fires Everywhere? What books do you recommend for vacation?