Category: Contemporary/Literary Fiction
Themes: Family Drama, Parenting, Adoption
Little Fires Everywhere, an incredibly intelligent, almost perfect read.
The reason I say that this book is incredibly intelligent is because you can dissect it, break it down completely, pick up each little piece, examine it separately and reconstruct the story back.
There are multiple layers, themes and characters and overall there’s so much food for thought that it makes reviewing this book, doubly harder. On the one hand, you have the Richardson family, the Mr. & Mrs. and their horde of 4 children and they are your ideal, typical, white, affluent family. A meticulously ordered, planned existence. Juxtaposed against that are Mia and her daughter Pearl, tenants in one of the Richardson’s property. Mia is an artist and their lives have been uncharacteristically nomadic and spontaneous, moving to a new place, starting afresh as inspiration strikes.
The way their lives crisscross, and the multitude of events that transpire from these interactions form the crux of the plot. And at the epicentre of this all is the custody battle of a Chinese baby girl between her birth mother and a white couple who wish to adopt her. It is this custody battle that divides all the characters, their alliances and perspectives, morals and judgement and you can’t help but feel yourself being pulled into the tide.
This book is told in multiple POV, and the catch is that unless every character is developed completely, there would always be something lacking in the story. Mrs. Richardson and Mia are developed incredibly well. Pearl to some extent. Lexie and Tripp felt two dimensional. Moody felt incomplete. And Izzy, the 4th and youngest of the Richardson children, an anomaly, the rebel of the brood, and probably one of the most fascinating characters could have gotten a little more page time.
The only other issue I had with this novel is that, initially there’s a section where it stagnates. Somewhere between pages 50 – 80, which could have been edited out in my opinion. But otherwise, it’s completely brilliant. It offers one of the most fascinating exploration of motherhood, parenting, race and adoption that I’ve ever encountered. And for that reason it’s so close to being 5 star read. Go and read it, it’s worth all the hype. Little Fires Everywhere : Pockets of chaos contained within order
A huge thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me this copy. All opinions are my own.