• Kimani Williams

Little Fires Everywhere


What do you get when you mix 1990's suburban life, teenage rebellion, family secrets, and fighting mothers? One compelling novel with surprises in every chapter.

What I liked about the book:

The subject of motherhood: In the novel, I was introduced to Mia Warren and Elena Richardson, two women with opposing views on motherhood. Elena is an uptight, straight-laced, perfectionist who was taught from a young age that there is a right and wrong way of living and she passes said morals onto her children. Mia is an altruistic free-spirit who uses empathy and art to help others. She decides to settle in Shaker Heights so that her daughter, Pearl can have a stable home and a normal teenage life.

The Diversity of the women: I loved how each female character in this novel had a different personality and story. While Celeste Ng did a fantastic job highlighting Mia and Elena as the main characters, I must applaud her for the work she did with other female characters. Some of my favorites included Bebe Chow, Pauline Hawthorne, Betsy Manwill, and Izzy Richardson.

The Secrets: It was the secrets buried under the surface that kept me intrigued. Everyone in Shaker Heights had a secret and I loved unraveling all of them. In fact, one character’s entire existence is still being kept a secret. Ironically, the character most hellbent on structure turned out to be the most secretive one in the book. The secrecy of all the characters also raised many questions. Are all secrets wrong? When do you follow the rules and when do you trust your gut? Are rules made to be broken? Is life truly just black and white? Is sinning for a good reason still sinning?

What I disliked about the book:

Moody deserved better: Moody Richardson was the most neglected character in the entire book. He was neglected in his family as the middle child. He was neglected and later heartbroken by Pearl whom he befriended before anyone else. He was neglected at the end of the story with no happy ending. He was left angry and resentful and later regretful that he didn’t get to say goodbye to Pearl before the Warrens “mysteriously” left town. Moody was not my favorite Richardson, but he was the most levelheaded out of the four children. All he wanted was to be Pearl’s friend. His only secret was that he had a crush on her. He was always there to help out no questions asked and received nothing in return but a lost friendship and a burnt down house. What the HELL?! Justice for Moody!

Overall Score: 9.5/10

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