Reviews

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

paging_snidget's review against another edition

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2.0

This book is easily readable - I got through it very quickly - but it has a lot of issues with the way that it is written.

There was no life to any of the characters, they were all very flat. It was also very obvious who was the ‘hero’ and ‘villain’ of the novel which annoyed me. The author used the very obvious trope of always referring to the villain as Mrs Richardson instead of by her last name, creating distance and preventing us from sympathising with the character. Mia and Mrs Richardson should have been on equal footing but Mia was like a saint. It was obvious who the moral centre of the novel was and who the author wanted us to gravitate towards.

The way she dealt with the plot points was equally heavy handed. There were some sensitive issues under discussion, but you could tell which way you were supposed to feel by which characters were made to be sympathetic and which were not. For example in the custody case, Bebe was obviously made out to be the wronged party whereas Mrs McCullough was rather unlikable at times. It was frustrating. For such a sensitive issue where I don’t think there really is a right or wrong, I felt this was handled poorly.

There was a lot of ‘telling’ in this book. A lot of backstory and character information is given out in long flashback-like chunks that interrupted the momentum of the narrative. There was also a constant shifting POV which would change from paragraph to paragraph or sometimes within the same paragraph, which was off putting.

The main problem I had though was with most characters decision-making. More often than not key decisions they made, did not make any sense to me and that drew me out of the story. Why did Mrs Richardson decide to look into Mia’s past? Her single minded vendetta did not ring true to me. Why did Mia’s parents turn against her, to the point of no contact without them even discussing things properly? Surely it merited a conversation at least. Plus I didn’t understand what their problem was in the first place. Surrogacy is a completely legitimate option but they were treating her like she’d voluntarily contracted leprosy or something. The argument didn’t seem bad enough for Mia to stay away for 15 years with no contact though. So that seemed strange as well. And what prompted Mia’s decision to keep Pearl in the first place? It was a very quick decision change for such a huge decision but we saw nothing of the process. What, her parents comments (who she’s not that close to) caused her to do a complete 180? I found that entire section a little odd. Mia’s history read like a daytime soap opera.

The ending of the novel as a whole was weak, insufficient and rather non-committal. There was no mystery to be solved. Everyone said Izzy did it. Well it turned out Izzy did do it we just got the explanation behind it. Basically she hates everyone, overreacts and takes something saint Mia says a little too literally. Then she runs away. Something of a let down really. The ending just felt rushed and there were too many loose ends that weren’t properly tied up. The subplot had been dealt with but the main plot had been left dangling so the novel didn’t feel completely finished.

Overall, I found the plot to be clunky with heavy handed moral issues and flat, poorly written characters. A frustrating read.

frances__reads's review

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adventurous emotional mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

jamieford's review

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5.0

Let me say this up front, in all caps in case you don't read the rest of this review:

THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I'VE READ ALL YEAR.

I've read a lot of incredible books in 2017, but this one stands above. It's scorchingly good, no pun intended. There were moments where I was so concerned, engaged, emotionally invested, and sometimes so enraged that I had to step away and come up for air. Otherwise I would have read the whole novel in one sitting...and spontaneously combusted.

In related news, I'll be at the Tucson Festival of Books next March, where I'll be on a panel with Celeste Ng.

I can't wait.

lgrief's review

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hopeful mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

elliewardman's review against another edition

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5.0

loved this story so much

erinlf_24's review

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challenging emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

julieez's review

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4.0

The portrayals of teens' lives (and their inner lives) were achingly true. A stunning portrayal of the time and place...
The high drama of the plot did not have the same ring of truth for me, but maybe that's art - something should be out of balance.

chichigua's review

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5.0

No sé como sentirme. Una se va de este libro sintiendo que el mundo es complejo. No hay que juzgar a la gente.

Re lindo ver un libro escrito desde la empatía por todos los personajes. tkm Little Fires Everywhere.

eliza_o's review

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emotional mysterious reflective sad

5.0

lawraann's review

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4.0

I loved this book. I read it quickly and honestly it made me think a lot about the way we live our lives. However I was pretty disappointed In the ending. I don't want to burden this with spoilers but I don't like when the truth doesn't come out, and when a needed confrontation is ignored. This book left a lot unsaid and unfinished, but it doesn't take away from the carefully woven stories. It's a brilliant book. I would have just preferred more comeuppance at the end.