So I first was turned onto Crystal Ng’s work because I read her first book, Everything I Never Told You, which I wrote about here. And I literally finished that book in just over a day — so highly recommend! But this book was different. The writing is still fluid and captures your attention but I wasn’t as engrossed in it as I was in her first novel, unfortunately. It is a really interesting plot though!
Little Fires Everywhere follows a single mother and her daughter as they move to Shaker Heights, Ohio. They move into an in-law apartment from your typical suburban upper middle-class family and instantly this family knows something is a little off about the mother. The mother/daughter duo has constantly moved throughout the daughter’s life and the mother tends to stay to herself while working odd jobs and photographing everything. But what shakes their world up a little bit is when a friend of the family finds an abandoned baby girl and the mother knows who abandoned the child & it hits a lot closer to home than anyone could imagine. Cue all the drama.
I think what irked me most about this book is that the build-up to this child being found and insight into the elusive mother is that it literally took over 100 pages of buildup. The book itself is just upwards of 300 pages and I really don’t think a third of the book needs to be build up and teenage angst.
But what this story does do really well is showing how weird suburban life can be and how deeply entrenched you can get in somebody else’s life without even realizing you’re halfway down the rabbit hole & you’re far too invested to take the ladder out. And the last 100 pages, I swear, you won’t be able to put the book down. So in a way, the build up is almost worth it.
Favourite Quote: Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the buring, the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that too.