July Book Review - Little Fires Everywhere

Jul 10, 2018

Novelist Celeste NG  is a New York Times Best-selling author two times over with her second novel LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE.  Barb Bretz has this month's Book Review.

I've decided to give you a “Two For One” this month and recommend both of Celeste NG's first two novels. I only discovered NG last year..... although her first novel... EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU.... was the Amazon book of the year in 2014. As soon as I read it I looked for anything else by the author.

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, released in 2017, like its predecessor has spent a number of weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Ng's parents moved to the US from Hong Kong in the '60s, her father a physicist working for NASA and her mother a research chemist. Harvard educated, she began with short stories prior to her debut novel. Her husband is white and they have a bi-racial son. I mention this fact only because both of her novels deal with this issue in some way.

Both books deal with extremely complicated family dynamics and personal relationships.

Both tackle the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships and the pivotal roles race and class play in American life.

Both involve mysteries......who did it and why?

Both open with tragedy.

Lydia is dead. But they don't know it yet.” …...are the first two sentences in EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU.

And in LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE it's .....“Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer......how Isabelle......the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.”

The author pulled from her own experiences of racism as well as those.....of her family and friends. She realizes that, even within her own small family..... she and her husband, coming from such different backgrounds, often view the very same thing from very different perspectives. 

Her characters and their stories are much more personal than political yet, Ng admits that recently the stakes have become higher for her as a woman, a woman of color and a child of immigrants. She says she has “always been political, because when you’re in any marginalized group, your existence is politicized for you, whether you like it or not”.

Her books give a voice to the marginalized and a different perspective to all. 

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE is being adapted into a Hulu series produced by and starring Reese Wither spoon, alongside Kerry Washington..... while EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU is in film development.

Both of Celeste Ng's books can be found at the Park City Library in print, audio and ebook versions.