Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng |  Fiction


Little Fires Everywhere has a slow start; a shallow teenage beginning. I kept thinking it was a Young Adult book, though it isn't listed as such on the book itself.  So I did some research.  Sure enough, Ng’s first book, Everything I Never Told You, won young adult awards.  Little Fires Everywhere has been called a Young Adult genre book by Goodreads and other book-list publishers.  One reviewer called it “an adult book for young adults.”

In Chapter 9, however, 1/3rd of the way through, something happens.  A mother who abandoned her baby finds her with adoptive parents, and wants her baby back.  This story-line takes off like fireworks skittering across the yard.  The sense of shallow teenage-ness departs, and a heart wrenching story emerges with nuances and missed signals in relationships and situations.

However, it isn't enough to rescue this book. The crises are unrealistic and mostly unbelievable, including a fire that is never really explained, an abortion that doesn't ring true, and life-styles that are simply fictionalized.  The relationships are filled with lies and withheld truths, making them ultimately baseless.  The characters are one-dimensional. All told, I don’t recommend you add this book to your list.  It is neither profound nor believable.

I can’t figure out why Little Fires Everywhere is a book club read.  I will be interested to see what my book club members have to say.  If I gain any different perspectives, I will share them here.





One response on “Little Fires Everywhere

  1. Mary C Crawford

    I’ll be interested to learn what your book club thinks of this. I was disappointed. Even gave it a down-arrow in my rating system and that’s pretty rare (most books that I would give this rating I don’t finish reading). This title was highly recommended in reviews and on many “Best of…” “Must read….” lists. It never really grabbed my attention. I found the writing not smooth or flowing. Somewhat moralist in tone. The themes she wrote on – rich v. poor; starving artist v. socialite; clash of cultures – just didn’t ring true. I was tempted to stop reading a few times but kept on because it was so highly rated. Glad to see you had similar feelings, Andrea. Never thought of it as a YA book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *