This is an amazing read! Ng’s characters are fully realized in this novel, the perfect time-line from start to finish. Interweaving a tale of women and their secrets, Ng unveils similarities between three women and daughters throughout the book in ways I would never have thought to suspect. The plot, although perhaps slow for some, felt incredibly paced to me, alternating between the appropriate amount of detail to paint a picture and tension running just under the surface of every interaction. Ng’s writing took my breath away.
I read this book at the right time in the right place. This book was yet another existential crisis waiting to unfold before me. I love the feeling of elements of a story clicking into place like an intricate puzzle where you had ideas about what the end product might show you, but you had no idea what the whole picture would mean. This is how Little Fires Everywhere hit me. It’s an anticipatory feeling of watching everything fall off a cliff in slow motion while there’s nothing you can do to stop it. And that feeling, in the case of fiction, is so satisfying.
In addition to the copious amounts of perfect family drama, the political undercurrent of this book felt very timely. Tackling big topics of women’s issues (and interweaving those with race issues), Ng’s story covers a variety of view points in a purposeful way, developing each character’s opinion so fully it felt intrinsic to each specific character. I felt like I, too, lived in Shaker Heights, in between the Richardson’s and the Warren’s.
Part of the draw for me was that Shaker Heights felt like it could have taken place anywhere. Having grown up in the Mid West, I often find myself feeling like it is the most middle of the road place, and I interpret a lot of books that take place in the Mid West as being stories that could take place anywhere. The overall feeling of the state is very subdued compared to the descriptions of the town. The town, although bland, had a distinctive and almost science fictiony vibe that fit perfectly with the cast of characters. This is one of those books where I simultaneously desperately crave a movie or TV show and think directors could never cast actors so incredibly human as the characters I experienced in this book.