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Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Shaker Heights City Hall (Wikimedia Commons)

A mother and daughter drive away in the middle of the night, a custody battle of a Chinese-American baby, and a beautiful house on fire. Welcome to Celese Ng’s Shaker Heights, which burns to the ground. 

Set in utopian suburbia in the 1990s, the wealthy, white Richardson family represents the epitome of Shaker Heights’ success. Enter Mia and Pearl Warren, a misfit, nomadic mother-daughter pair who stir up life. Pearl, infatuated with the Richardson children, drags her mother deep into their  lifestyle. 

But complex family dynamics intertwine the Richardsons and the Warrens, as an adoption debate of a Chinese-American baby by a white family divides the town and a custody battle ensues as the families clash.

The messinesss culminates in the youngest Richardson setting little fires everywhere and engulfing the Richardson house in flames. Ng’s novel tackles racism, motherhood, class, and the pitfalls of perfection with grace and displays the issues in a way that generates conversation. 

Little Fires Everywhere makes its debut on the small screen on March 18, 2020, as a Hulu Original Series, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. 




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