My rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Richardson family are the seemingly perfect, suburban family living in the meticulously planned town of Shaker Heights. When Elena Richardson rents a property to mother and daughter, Mia and Pearl, she has no idea of what has been set in motion. All four Richardson children are drawn to Mia and Pearl and they soon become involved with the family in ways Elena could never have imagined. When a custody battle erupts and divides the town Mia and Elena find themselves on opposing sides and Elena becomes obsessed with uncovering all of Mia’s secrets. But these revelations will come at a devastating cost to Mia and to the Richardson’s.
I really wanted to love this book. I had heard amazing things and after just finishing two books for NetGalley I was happy to be sitting down to read something that I had chosen to read for me. After only finishing this book a few hours ago I am still at odds with how I feel about this book.
The novel explores the bond between mother and daughter, not just between Mia and Pearl, but between all of the families that become the focus of the plot. This is powerful and really sheds light on the different ways to love your children and gives an insight in to what it may be like to be a mother. Every mother-daughter relationship is different within the novel and I think that this seems a fitting representation of real life.
The novel is well written and carefully woven, Celeste Ng’s storytelling really is quite compelling. The plot was easy to follow and there were little surprises along the way to keep the reader guessing, the story was in no way predictable. All of the characters in the novel had a secrets they were trying to protect and, to me, this was the most powerful element of the whole novel.
One issue that I had with the novel was the pace. The plot seemed too slow for me and I was desperate for something exciting to happen. There were some important events in the novel but I was always craving more. I wanted a big twist or a huge showdown/confrontation but it never happened. The novel starts with the Richardson house burning down and when that is circled back round to at the end, even that seemed anticlimactic.
My other issue with the novel isn’t necessarily an issue with the novel but more my response to it. The whole way through reading Little Fires Everywhere I felt very disconnected from the novel. I was reading the events unfolding and didn’t have any strong emotions towards what was happening. This was not the fault of the character development as the characters were all very well written and all had depth to them but there just wasn’t one character I particularly liked. I didn’t have any strong feelings towards and of them and wasn’t really routing for any of them, I feel that this is where my disconnect with the novel lies.
I feel that this review has been quite a subjective one but for this novel in particular it had to be so I could explain my feelings. The biggest issue for me wasn’t the writing of the novel, as I thought it was thought provoking and beautifully written, the issue was my connection with the novel. This may have been down to the pace or even that I may not have been in the right frame of mind to appreciate this book but either way it hasn’t gripped me.
I would still recommend this book as there have been so many raving reviews about it and the writing style was elegant and thought-provoking. It you have read this novel, I would be interested in hearing your opinions and whether it was just me that wasn’t feeling it or didn’t connect with it, let me know.
Do you have a suggestion for the next book to add to my bookshelf? Let me know in comments.