A Review of Sorts: Little Fires Everywhere

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


You know the scene in Trainwreck where LeBron James is telling Bill Hader's character random shit about Cleveland and then tries to compare the allure of Cleveland to Miami? I am that person. Anything and everything to do with Cleveland I am all on like Harry Styles is on a tall blonde model (too soon?). I loved living in Cleveland with my whole heart (okay, maybe not quite enough to stay but hey...) so when I found out that this book was set in Shaker Heights, a nice suburb of Cleveland that I've driven through many o' times, I was sold. Also, like, based on the reviews and everyone I saw reading it as well. It was a combination of peer pressure and Cleveland pressure.

Are you guys ready to hear me talk about this book while actually not telling you anything about it at all because I am physically incapable of writing coherent thoughts about anything? Yes? Okay!

As I said already, the book is set in Shaker Heights, which is a neighborhood known for its strict building codes and zoning laws, a testament to its history of being "perfectly planned." Just from living in Cleveland as an outsider, Shaker was always known for its pretty streets and distinct neighborhood planning (the streets are laid out like a nightmare for cars, I've gotten lost plenty of times) and also its great schools and community aspect.

We follow the Richardson family, a decently well-off family of six. Elena Richardson was born and raised in Shaker Heights and moved back after college with her now husband Bill, a lawyer in Cleveland, while she is a journalist at a local paper. They had four kids in succession–Lexie (senior), Trip (junior), Moody (sophomore), and Izzy (freshman)–who are all the poster-children for suburban success. Well, besides maybe Izzy, the outsider and "rebellious" child.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the book also follows Mia and Pearl Warren, a mother and daughter duo who live a nomadic life traveling across the United States one state at a time while Mia works on her art and runs from her past. While the Richardsons have an established life in Shaker Heights, Pearl and Mia have been on the go since Pearl was a child and Shaker Heights was just another stop on their way. The two families' paths cross when Pearl and Mia rent out the apartment that Mrs. Richardson inherited from her parents. While Mia prefers to keep to herself, Pearl bonded with Moody over their similar ages and interests and from that moment on, there was a noticeable tie between the families.

Mia's mysterious past piques the interest of the Richardson family, but Elena decides to dive deeper during a custody battle that her close friends are going through no thanks to Mia's interference. Mrs. Richardson's suspicions lead her down an obsessive path that will affect Mia's life and her family's life more than she would know.

*Stefon from Saturday Night Live voice* This book has everything! Friendship, drama, teenage romance, some more drama, family court bullshit, more drama, secrets, intrigue, it's the whole package, really. It's like a Jodi Picoult book without all of the formulaic nonsense and same storyline played out the same way (still love her though, don't get me wrong). Regular fiction books usually take me a while to read, but I finished this in about four or five sittings, which for me and a book that isn't a YA fiction novel, that's not half bad!

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?
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4 comments

  1. I did a review of this book a while back and I LOVED it! This book really made me stop and think about a lot of things to do with race and class. I saw an interview with Celeste Ng and she said that Lexie's interracial relationship with her boyfriend and the way she feels about it was kind of a joking nod to the 90s mentality when everyone thought that not being racist was "not seeing race," which is kind of a punchline now.
    I'm glad you enjoyed the book too! I recently finished her other book, "Everything I Never Told You" and I really recommend it too!

    xo, Deborah
    < Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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    1. There were so many complexities in this book that I wish I could coherently talk about without totally spoiling it but I really need to watch some of her interviews now that I've finished! I was really drawn to this book because I grew up surrounded by family law so I literally called my mom in the middle of reading this to fact check the trial process (I'm such a nerd, I do this all the time but I just like knowing if things are accurate hahaha). I wasn't surprised that I liked this book by any means, but I really enjoyed it. I'm trading Celeste Ng books with a friend so as soon as I finish my Sophie Kinsella book, I'll definitely be diving into 'Everything I Never Told You' for sure!

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  2. I have not gotten around to reading this book, but it sounds wonderful! May have to pick it up soon.

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    1. I wish I could have done it justice without spoiling the whole book, but I'm a blabbermouth hehehe. It was a really incredible story and I would totally recommend giving it a read!

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