Updated: Mar 30, 2020
What a week it has been in the Midwest! The weather has been extremely cold one week, and then extremely snowy the next, but it has been conducive to cuddling up in a cozy blanket with a warm beverage and good book. Last week, I finished Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and it was a solid 4.5/5 star read. This book kept me engaged from start to finish and it is so so good.
The story is set in Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb of Cleveland, where the houses are cookie cutter perfection. Everything is planned out, from the aesthetics of the homes to the lives of everyone in the town. Everyone follows the rules and no one deviates from the norms in Shaker Heights. The story follows the Richardson family who appear like the perfect family from the outside, looking in, and the Warren mother/daughter duo, who live a transient life, unlike anyone in the town. The story unfolds around a local family who want to adopt a Chinese-American baby and touches on family dynamics, society, culture, and relationships. Who really is your family? The one you are born into and share genetics with? Or the people you closely surround yourself with and choose as your family?
This book makes you think and touches on so many important subjects, while keeping the main plot alive. There was a lot going on at once, but it was easy to follow and Celeste Ng’s writing was witty and fun to read.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book that resonated with me:
“One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules... was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.”
“Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less.”
“It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?”
“Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way….Like after a prairie fire. I saw one, years ago, when we were in Nebraska. It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow…People are like that, too, you know. They start over. They find a way.”
I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a fast paced read that covers social topics and family dynamics in a thought provoking way. If you live in the Midwest, stay warm and think spring thoughts. I have to remind myself that warm weather is around the corner. Next week, I am going to San Diego for work and I am hoping to get some sun, fresh air, and lots of reading in.