Diving into my first Celeste Ng book, I luckily wasn’t disappointed! I devoured up “Little Fires Everywhere” in just about a day & a half & I now completely understand why Reese Witherspoon jumped on the opportunity of getting the rights to film a series based on this book. It’s all you could wish for from a captivating piece of fiction. It was well written & well edited (on the contrary to “Behind Closed Doors” which I read just before & where I kept on stumbling over errors upon errors -_-), the story drew you in completely & you wanted to find out how it ended as quickly as possible. The writing powerfully transported you into its own world, whereas allowing you to construct vivid visuals in your imagination.
“All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly, a breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or, perhaps, to tend to it carefully like an eternal flame: a reminder of light and goodness that would never – could never – set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity.” (p. 185)
Why 4/5 ★ instead of the full 5/5 ★ rating then? For my taste, the story was circling a bit too much around the teenage characters & their experiences at school. I might have enjoyed it a bit more if I would have been closer in age to the main protagonists but in my case, I felt to have outgrown their struggles to build up sufficient compassion for them. On top of that, it was a bit too “American” for me, possibly because I’ve been reading too many americentric books lately. Maybe also because I’m already picturing the way the series will have probably been shot & how it will be brimming with overused clichés.
What I felt like the author mastered brilliantly, were the shifts of perspective within the narrative. Within a single paragraph you were unnoticeably taken from the inner world of one character to another one, which only became apparent when you slowed down the reading & paid close attention to how the author executed this to perfection. A certain grace & lightness to the chosen words was present, which I enjoyed immensely. There was also the length of the book, which appeared to be absolutely ideal. You felt satisfied with its pace, the amount of details shared & the ending wrapped the story up at a satisfying point. It was consistent throughout & it was evident that a lot of work was put into it.
A story of morality drew me in, with the question of who had the rights to be a child’s parents – those who can prove to be able to provide for his/her future or predominantly the ones who are biologically linked? It was depicted in a masterful way that allowed you to build up a genuine understanding for both sides. An added extra for me was how a big part of the story focused on photography, which is a personal interest of mine. All in all, the author managed to create a really well-rounded piece of work. The story felt well researched, the described emotions of each of the characters came across as authentic & relatable. You can especially perceive how the parts about parenthood are written with a deep intensity that can only come from related personal experiences.
“It had been a long time since her daughter had let her be so close. Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less & less. […] It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.” (p. 287)
If you’re looking for a fast-paced page-turner, while still having a certain depth to the story, as well as for it to be written in a wonderfully enjoyable way – this book is the one for you 😉 Don’t hesitate to give it a try 🙂 I’m now really curious to also read Celeste Ng’s debut novel, “Everything I Never Told You”, which has got to be one of the best compliments upon finishing an author’s book. On this note, I’m heading off to watch the series to find out whether it’s as good as the book 😀