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.