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.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair.
But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.(goodreads)
After reading Everything I Never Told You, too much curiosity got me to read this book immediately.
The book opened with its ending. Mia and Pearl leaving Shaker Heights, and Elena(or Mrs. Richardson) would, afterwards, be staring at her home burnt down and her youngest daughter nowhere to be found. From then, the story would started to dig on how the two different families come upon this happentance.
Mia-single mom striving for her own dreams as she does her best to raise her only child. Elena, a mother whose striving to maintain her perfect family and perfect community. Different women with different backgrounds, but has a common goal of loving and raising their children in the best way possible.
At first, I was finding it hard to find where the book might lead me. The begining was very intriguing. I had no idea what the book was about when I started reading it but the first few lines on the begining got me hooked. Maybe because the book started with a big question mark that would promt us to look for answers.
Though there are some parts that really kept me on the dark and it seems like I wasn’t getting the direction to where the novel is going. It was kind of overwhelming considering the number of point of views presented in the novel but as the secrets started to unravel, it started to shed a light for me.
From Mia to Elena,the novel tackled the different direction and decisions a mother would take just to provide for her children. Aside from motherhood, the book also touched a lot of controversial issues like racism and teenage pregnancy.
The difference between Mia and Elena not just as mothers but women in general, created the center to which the entirety of the novel would revolve. Elena’s upbringing led her to become the perfect housewife and mother she is in the present. This causes her to become intrigued by Mia’s way of life and parenting style. Mia, being a single mother and an artist, is the exact opposite of Mrs. Richardson’s idea of a perfect mother. Elena also sees it as something she has to look into in order to maintain the reputation of Shaker Heights’ perfect community which she’s very passionate about. Mia, on the other hand, just wanted to start anew in this perfect community. Seeing it’s promising reputation, she’s trying to place a stop from moving cities. As promised to Pearl, that ‘this time, they’ll stay’, she tried building realtionships with the community, a thing they always avoided before.
Their differences became more apparent when they became more than just a tennant and a landlord. Pearl, Mia’s daughter, started to become close with the Richardsons’ kids and build a relationship with them. On top of that, Mia started working for the family offseting the rent’s payment. This would soon led to Isabelle, the youngest of the Richardsons, to find comfort with Mia as she seems to understand Isabelle’s ‘troubled’ persona. Not apparent to Mia and Elena, a controversy would spark in Shaker Heights that would put their beliefs to the tests.
The book ended without a crystal clear resolution for everything that has happened to all it characters. We already knew that Mia and Pearl would leave, Isabelle has burned down her family home but does it really give the answers to our questions? The book has dug dipper into the characters’ background and revealed secrets that might helped in understanding their actions but the one clear thing it did was to raise more questions.
This Goodreads Choice 2017 winner deserves all the hype and the praise it recieves. But emotion-wise and narrative-wise, I woudn’t say that it was a better book than Everything I Never Told You. The premise of the book was really great, and maybe that’s why it has been hyped and even turned into a mini series. I admire this book for it’s diverse story telling of motherhood. But in general, the book didn’t gave me the emotional depth I was hoping to encounter reading it.