Little Fires Everywhere
You know a book is good when you’re obsessively thinking about it for days on end and you find ways that your every day life can relate to what you’re reading. Little Fires Everywhere was that kind of book for me. Don't worry, there are no spoilers in this post.
Where to Find It: Amazon
I knew nothing about this book before I decided to read it. I saw it on a Best Sellers list and wasn’t set on purchasing it. However, I had just finished a different book and was itching to get started on something new. If I'm being completely honest, it was the gorgeous cover that cemented my decision to go with it.
About fifteen pages into the book, I wasn’t entirely sure if this book was for me. I almost gave up, but the end of the first chapter, I was completely obsessed! At first it appeared that the book was about angst riddled teenagers and their predictable problems but I was so wrong. It was so much more than that!
Connie Ng’s characters are as complicated as they are human. Family dynamics are slow to develop and that is what makes this novel absolutely incredible. You immediately establish an opinion about every single character, and every one of those opinions are challenged as you find out more.
As humans, we are often quick to pass judgment. We tend to believe that a person who makes one really bad decision must be inherently evil, and we choose to believe that those who live seemingly similar lives to our own are inherently good. Life has been/become binary and accusatory, and we rarely make the choice to figure out the ‘why’ to the ‘what’ when it comes to actions and decisions that we cannot sympathize or do not empathize with. We find it easy to blame, shame, and berate anyone who doesn’t fit into our idea of what is acceptable. This is the biggest and most poignant theme to this novel (in my opinion), and the author guides us through understanding the complicated back-stories of her characters after we’ve made our first impressions about them. It is absolutely incredible because they’re given a chance to be explained and understood, regardless if they’re right or wrong. There are tons of “ooooh, that’s why” moments that brings more context to the story without being predictable in the slightest.
Without divulging too much into the story, the novel begins with a major event and then dives into the lives of two different families that come from two completely different worlds. A contrast of rigidness and leniency, wealth and poverty – that binary theme that is so relevant to real life. When I put the book down each night, I found myself remembering similar situations in my own life and then rethinking my own stances.
All of these thoughts were scribbled down on a piece of paper when I was about 2/3 of the way done with the book. At this point, I had absolutely no idea how the book would end. I kept wondering how these backstories I had been reading would relate to the major event in the first chapter, and I was worried that I would be left disappointed when the novel came to an end. Now that I'm finished, I can confirm that the ending was perfect.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I cried - I actually cried when the book ended. Not because it was tragic but because I was so invested in the story and the characters. So much of the book was relatable to my own personal life, whether in theme or characteristics, and all of those emotions came crashing together after reading the last chapter. Now that I'm done, I feel a little sad that I don't have any more of this book to read.
If you're looking for something great to read - I highly recommend this. I also have the Audible version and the narrator did an excellent job.
Let me know what books are on your list to read this year!