“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.”
As much as I want to like this kind of slow-moving, character-driven literary fiction, I often don’t. In general, I tend to feel like I’m missing something when I read literary fiction. Like there’s some integral part of it that I just didn’t grasp. With Little Fires Everywhere, I never got that feeling. With Little Fires Everywhere, aside from a bit of a slow start, I was hooked.
I think this is probably going to be the most hyped book that I read in 2018 (we’ll see) — but the hype is totally worth it. At the time of writing this review, there were 198 (electronic) holds on this book at my library! Luckily they have 34 electronic copies. Surprisingly, I only had to wait about a month for my copy.
A confession: I didn’t read the blurb. I just knew that everybody loves this book and I jumped in blind. Because of that, the book went in some directions I really didn’t expect! (Although even if I’d actually read the blurb, I think there were still some twists I wouldn’t have seen coming.)
At first glance, the book seems to be about the teenagers. And, truly, all of the teenagers were wonderful in their own ways. (Even Moody, as he was saying unforgivable things at the end, was at least acting realistically.) I loved the strong friendship that developed between the teenagers throughout the book, but this isn’t a book about them. Not really, at least.
More than anything, I think, this is a book about the parents. Their decisions. Their actions and the reactions they caused. Mrs. Richardson thinks she’s doing the best thing for her four children, but she’s so blind to her mistakes and the pain that they cause. Mia is a great mother, but moving Pearl all over the country has surely shaped her personality. Then we have Mrs. McCullough, a white woman who adopts a Chinese-American baby under controversial circumstances and has no idea why people are asking her if she knows a single thing about Chinese culture.
The book ends in a way that’s somehow, at the same time, shocking and completely expected. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for a character-driven novel.
Have you read Little Fires Everywhere? Are you planning to?
Let’s talk in the comments!