Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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Entertainment Weekly 's #1 Must-Read Book for Fall

Reese Witherspoon's Book Club's (@RWBookClub) Selection

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You , a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives

"I am loving LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. Maybe my favorite novel I've read this year."--John Green

"I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting." -Jodi Picoult

"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." - Paula Hawkins

#1 Library Reads Pick

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

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

When old family friends of the Richardsons 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 unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2017.
ISBN: 9780735224308
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Mary Kay's Picks
mko123 Aug 02, 2018

Appearances can be deceiving. What looks like a normal middle class household has trouble brewing under the surface. In what she sees as an effort to help her tenant, Mrs. Henrickson hires Mia, a struggling artist (who happens to have a teenage daughter the same age as her kids) to be her houseke... Read More »

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mko123 May 08, 2018

A picture perfect family gets entangled with a struggling artist and her daughter. The upper middle class mrs.richardson tells herself she doing an unselfish thing when she hires artist Mia to clean her house. But oh what tangled webs we weave when ourselves we do deceive. Great page turner.


From the critics


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ddsret
May 18, 2019

Fail to see the value of this slow, plodding story. I rarely abandon a book mid-read but life is too short to read books without compelling reason. I lived and worked in the Shaker Hts. community for decades and thus found myself just giving up on the book and searching for streets and places familiar to me. The author makes too much of the "perfect, utopian community"...it's not really all that.

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TheresaAJ
May 07, 2019

Little Fires Everywhere is a perfect title for this slow-paced character study of the Richardson family whose lives are upended by their artistic renter Mia Warren. As Ng explores the dynamics between these two families, she also scratches beneath the surface of the placid, utopian-like Shaker Heights, Ohio. The story opens with a fire which is never fully put out or its motive discovered until the last chapter. The rest of the story is filled out as Ng plumbs the depths of decisions made and their unexpected results. This is the May 2019 selection of the Willa Cather Book Club.

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nalahblueberry5
Apr 19, 2019

I enjoyed this plot driven book about issues issues and more issues. Well done. Kept me thinking and interested. Aptly named.

p
p33atti
Apr 11, 2019

read this over a year ago (forgot to comment) but I enjoyed the author's writing very much and went on to read her other book as well (which I also enjoyed very much).

books are hard: there's a story, a plot, twists and turns. you want every aspect to be discovered/explored/explained but you just "can't" have it ALL--the book HAS TO END and there will always be a loose end (unless the author makes all the characters die at the end!).
"such is life...." ;-)

r
rogebc_0
Apr 06, 2019

This is a celebrated author but the book really fell flat for me. There is something artificial in the feel of the story. The story of the "perfect community" where the author actually spent some of her childhood and the leaking out of the imperfect, the hidden, the reality includes some great characters. I did not find the adolescents believable and the events often felt contrived.

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Kristen MERKE
Mar 25, 2019

Excellent example of how to use place to really drive the narrative. Reads more similar to a YA then some adult fiction, yes, it still has adult themes and grapples with big issues such as race, motherhood and success. My only complaint would be the ending. I felt as though we did not work towards a good resolution, but each small storyline shows the complexity of place and I enjoyed that.

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bjagger21
Mar 25, 2019

Decent read, but extremely slow and so aggravating! As a foster mom looking to adopt eventually this story infuriated me. I would say give it a read but know that its a slow moving book with a lot of detail.

s
shelbski
Mar 17, 2019

Could not finish this book. Too juvenile in style and character development. There were moments that had me, but then it took a completely unrealistic turn; somewhat similar to a teenager’s creative writing assignment. I rarely leave books in the middle, but just could not waste more time on this book. The storyline had potential, but the writing is not there. If looking for a beach read...then maybe, but if looking for a captivating book, then move on.

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FoxLarkin
Mar 17, 2019

A well orchestrated study of the many facets of motherhood: complex characters, all struggling with their personal "fires", what form of water they will or will not choose to put them out. I loved how the back stories of the characters were revealed over time, getting to know them before you learned what formed the choices they made. As the novel unfolded, my sympathies for the individuals shifted, but I never did learn to like or appreciated Mrs. Richardson. She never evolved sufficiently to gain my sympathy.

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taralei
Mar 14, 2019

A truly gifted young writer gives us a book about secrets, the nature of art, and the fruitless search for identity in a suburban, bland world that no longer supports the creative individual. Her amazing prose is flawless, and one reads it in one breathless evening, a marvel in every sense of literary devices, but it is the story that takes us on an unforgettable journey into the deepest and most hidden parts of our female psyches. We are thrust into a carefully ordered community that is utopian, but yet disturbing in its inability to accept any change. The community is thrust into a scandal when a woman who is completely out of the norm and will not adhere to the "rules" puts the entire McCarthy Eden into disarray as two families grapple in a shocking battle of the weight of secrets and the real meaning of motherhood and love. Even more devastating that her debut novel, you will find this a triumph of the soul, a love song to the mothers in all of us, and the longing to be set free of the life that you have in order to assimilate into the longings that you harbor.

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Quotes

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TheresaAJ
May 07, 2019

"But the problem with rules, he reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on."

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TheresaAJ
May 07, 2019

"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."

TheBookWitch Apr 14, 2018

"To a parent, your child wasn't just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she'd been and the child she'd become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again." p. 122

ArapahoeMaryA Mar 15, 2018

Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.

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cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“…his life had been divided into a before and an after, and he would always be comparing the two.” - p. 21

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cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or, perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame; a reminder of light and goodness that would never - could never - set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity. The key, she thought, was to avoid conflagration.” - p. 161

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cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn't, you might burn the world to the ground.” - p. 161

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cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“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.” - p. 269

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2018

“Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way… Like after a prairie fire… 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.” - p. 295

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Kristen MERKE
Mar 25, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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coxkelsey72
Feb 27, 2019

coxkelsey72 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Mya614
Mar 04, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Notices

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coxkelsey72
Feb 27, 2019

Sexual Content: Teenage encounters, abortion

c
coxkelsey72
Feb 27, 2019

Coarse Language: Mild swearing

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