|Little Fires Everywhere: Celeste Ng|
I know this is a tall order, but I think that Little Fires Everywhere might just be the best book I've read this year. I mean, December will have to pull out the big guns if it wants to beat this, is all I'm saying. So naturally, I'm pretty stoked to be part of the blog tour for this book and share my enthusiasm for it.
Thrown into Shaker Heights: a modern suburban city with rules and regulations to cover every aspect of modern life - right down to what colour homeowners can paint their houses and what time curfew is for children - as the book opens, we're gathered on the sidewalk outside the Richardson's house as it goes up in flames. There's suggestion from the fire crews that this was not an accident, yet also no sense of surprise.
Elena Richardson, the embodiment of a perfect Shaker resident, stands on the sidewalk and watches her material life burn away to nothing. A model citizen, Elena's raison d'etre is to play by the rules.
In heading back to cover the past few months, the narrative is fully submersive and as a reader, I found myself unsure who to side with when it came to moral dilemmas. One in particular is central to the plot and has the town divided.
Mia and Pearl think they've found somewhere they can settle when they move into their new apartment in Shaker Heights. A nomadic artist and her daughter who have spent their lives moving around, perhaps this is the place for them to set down some roots.
Their landlords, the Richardson Family also live in the neighbourhood and are the perfect example of a modern American family. Picture perfect. with their four teen children navigating their way through high school, sports teams and college applications. I recognised common flaws and endearing traits at the same time in a lot of the characters, particularly the Richardson children, and loved the slow-burning way (pun intended) in which everybody interacted and became integral parts in one another's lives.
Honestly, I'm not sure how to describe this book other than an amazing look at 90s suburban America, family dynamics and their secrets. The book quite honestly simmers and I wanted to continue to be immersed in their town lives long after I finished it.