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Little fires everywhere : a novel
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Mia Warren (Female), Artist, Enigmatic, Single mother, Moves into a quiet suburban town with her teenage daughter; rents a house from Elena
Elena Richardson (Female), Lives in a suburb where everything is planned; plays by the rules; Mia's landlady; family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby and get involved in a custody battle; becomes suspicious of Mia
Genre
Fiction
Domestic
Topics
Neighbors
Motherhood
Adoption
Female friendship
Secrets
Mothers and daughters
Suburban life
Single mothers
Custody battle
Identity
Asian Americans
Setting
Cleveland, Ohio - Midwest (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Ng's engrossing sophomore novel explores, in gorgeous prose, themes of class, racial identity, and motherhood. An omniscient narrator slowly reveals the characters who inhabit Ng's real-life hometown of Shaker Heights, OH, a planned community near Cleveland, whose genuinely well--intentioned residents are not shy about proclaiming how socially progressive they are. The wealthy Richardson family embodies the Shaker Heights ideal. Elena Richardson abandoned her dream of being a serious journalist (she now writes puff pieces for the community paper) because that's what she thought she should do to create a well-ordered world for her four children and attorney husband. Her comfortable suburban utopia is threatened, however, when Mia, a free-spirited artist, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, settle into the Richardson's rental property after years of drifting around the country. After Pearl is befriended by the Richardson children, Elena offers Mia a job as their housekeeper under the guise of "helping" this single mom, but she really wants to learn more about the mysterious outsiders. The gloves come off, however, when Elena learns of Mia's role in an ugly custody battle that is dividing her beloved community and cracking its idealistic veneer. Jennifer Lim gracefully and authentically acts as Ng's omniscient narrator, hopping around town, divulging characters' secrets but also evoking empathy for these characters who are just trying to do what they think is right. VERDICT Well suited for audio, Ng's gem will please fans and captivate listeners new to her work. ["A magnificent, multilayered epic that's perfect for eager readers": LJ 6/1/17 starred review of the Penguin Pr. hc.]-Beth Farrell, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Set in the late 1990s in the town of Shaker Heights, Ohio, the audio edition of Ng's novel begins with a fire in the home of the Richardsons, an affluent, apparently happy family. What follows are flashbacks to the moments of tension-the metaphorical "little fires" of the title that lead a member of the family to set the blaze. The drama begins with the arrival of unconventional visual artist and single mother Mia Warren, who rents the Richardsons' guest house with her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl. The Richardson kids quickly embrace Pearl, while their journalist mother, Elena, offers Mia the opportunity to do light housework to help pay the bills. But when Mia starts to mentor one of her daughters, Elena is miffed, and her annoyance goes nuclear after Mia interferes in the adoption process of one of the Richardsons' closest friends, by encouraging the birth mother, a Chinese immigrant, to rethink her plans. Actress Lim gives a dramatic, vivacious performance and catches every nuance of its probe of mother love and the widening chasm between the privileged and the working class. Lim is particularly effective in her presentation of Elena as both villain and victim and of Mia as a seemingly wise free spirit who's not exactly mother of the year. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick <p>The runaway New York Times bestseller <p>Named a Best Book of the Year by: <br> People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, Paste , Kirkus Reviews , St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more <p> "I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting." -Jodi Picoult <p>"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." - Reese Witherspoon <p>"I am loving Little Fires Everywhere . Maybe my favorite novel I've read this year."--John Green <p>"Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." - Paula Hawkins<br> <br>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. <p> 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. <p> 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. <p>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. <p> 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. <p>Perfect for book clubs Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.
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