Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng ** Blog Tour Review**

I'm really thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It is a brilliant read, reminiscent in style for me of Donna Tartt and a great piece of contemporary literary writing. It is her second published book, following her debut, Everything I Never Told You, which was the Amazon Best Book of 2014 and won multiple awards. Excitingly, Reece Witherspoon has announced that she will be making a mini-series around the book and here is what she says about Little Fires Everywhere

To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears’
Reese Witherspoon

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. 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours 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 principal is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just 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 rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends 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 an unexpected and devastating cost...

My Thoughts

There's something about Celeste Ng's style of writing which is so fluent and smooth that you feel you are carried right into the heart of her novel. After an arresting start, the story unfolds in a calm and unhurried manner and slowly, you begin to see the dynamics which are driving each character on. I love the way each member of the Richardson and Warren families are so distinct and how finely drawn they all are. The contrasts between them all are what you notice first- the slightly bohemian artist, Mia, the controlled and controlling Elena, but then you begin to notice that actually, nobody can be described in black and white terms. There is a lot of shading and blurring of motives and each one is a complex tapestry of conflicting attributes. 

    What makes a good mother? You are led to ponder this as you see what motherhood means, not just to Mia and Elena, but through the adoption court case, more widely. The mothering instinct is so strong in all of them but manifests itself in different ways. Elena Richardson's relationship with her youngest, Izzy, the unconventional one, is shown to be tied in with her anxieties when Izzy was born and her desire to protect her. 

    Life in Shaker Heights is apparently controlled and perfect. Every aspect of living there is thought through and planned. There are no sharp edges allowed to pop this bubble. Through the story, Ng makes you think about broad issues of family, race, individual free will, motherhood, siblings. It is an emotional read which fully engages all your attention and rewards you with the feeling that you have really got to know beneath the surface how they all live their lives. 

In short: a brilliant and evocative read.

About the Author

Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Hopwood Award, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the American Library Association's Alex Award. She is a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

You can follow Celeste here:  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook
   |  Pinterest  |   Goodreads

Thanks to Grace Vincent and Little,Brown Publishers for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

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