Celeste Ng is one of those authors that seems to be highly recommended by all. A lot of people had told me to read this book, so I dived in and very quickly became a convert and full time member of the appreciation group for this incredible author!
In Shaker Heights everything is just so. The houses look a certain way, there are rules about how your grass should look and people are expected to act in a certain way. If you’ve been brought up living there, it just feels like the “norm”; after all everyone is kind, friendly and sensible. But when out-of-towners, Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive, their energy begins to distort the town’s.
Now for Pearl, she just wants to fit in and she immerses herself into the Richardson’s family home: becoming close friends with Moody and Lexie, having a crush on Trip and being curious about Izzy. Mia, however, sees the real ‘Izzy’ and begins to share advice with her; Izzy is overjoyed that someone finally gets her. I could go on about these characters for a while, as it’s clear from early on that Ng has great skill in creating characters which fully suit her story; they match the plot with their complexity, hidden thoughts and their uniqueness – they had such an alluring effect on me drawing me further into this story.
I was perfectly happy to just explore the dynamics of the Richardsons and the Warrens, but Ng shifts it up a gear by adding a new subject matter that really intensifies the characters’ true personalities. The Richardson’s friends are in the process of adopting a Chinese-American baby that was left abandoned. After having her for a year, the Chinese mother now wants the baby back. Who’s side are you on? The McCullough’s will be able to provide her with the best start in life but is biology and heritage more important?
The town becomes divided and cracks begin to show, just as the side stories come to the surface, revealing secrets and lies.
Without spoiling the plot, I’ll just say Mrs Richardson’s research added a fascinating dimension to this story and I loved how Ng joined the dots for this particular subplot. What was so interesting about it, was the fact it showed the contradictions that a person can show in their personality on what seem to be similar topics.
A deeply absorbing book from a very skilled writer, and with ‘a little bit of everything’ when it comes to topics explored, it’s a book that many will enjoy!
Little Fires Everywhere is out NOW in paperback and eBook versions by Abacus.
Until next time, Chloé x