Little Fires Everywhere
A NoveleBook - 2017
Now a Hulu original series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” —Jodi Picoult
“To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” —Reese Witherspoon
“Extraordinary . . . books like Little Fires Everywhere don't come along often.” —John Green
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors 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 teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Named a Best Book of the Year by: People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, Paste, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more...
Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.
From the critics
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If a soul could leave a body, she thought, this is the sound it would make: like the screech of a nail being pulled from old wood.
"But the problem with rules, he reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on."
"Like after a prairie fire. I saw one, years ago, when we were in Nebraska. It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer and new things can grow."
"To a parent, your child wasn't just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she'd been and the child she'd become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again." p. 122
Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.
“…his life had been divided into a before and an after, and he would always be comparing the two.” - p. 21
“All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or, perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame; a reminder of light and goodness that would never - could never - set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity. The key, she thought, was to avoid conflagration.” - p. 161
“Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn't, you might burn the world to the ground.” - p. 161
“One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules... was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.” - p. 269
“Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way… Like after a prairie fire… It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow… People are like that, too, you know. They start over. They find a way.” - p. 295
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