There’s a weird sense of intensity that only comes with a familiar setting. It’s intimate and strange at the same time. Although Little Fires Everywhere is set in the Shaker Heights of the 90’s, many of the locations mentioned still exist and the feelings that Ng writes so eloquently about are still the same.
While Little Fires Everywhere seems like an ordinary book about an ordinary place, at the same time it isn’t. Ng zones in so clearly and perceptively on the character’s intentions and needs, sometimes to an intensity where we start to question ourselves. What do we know about ourselves? Are we anything like these characters? She explores privilege and race inside of a community that sees itself as progressive and liberal, and are blind to their own biases.
I think that’s why Shaker Heights is the perfect setting for Little Fires Everywhere. It’s an idyllic place to be, with its orderly houses and wide streets, but at what cost are these maintained? Ng deftly explores the secrets that family members have, between each other, and the cost of following rules. The lives of Richardson family, a typical family with four kids, are shaken up when a single mother, Mia Warren, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, move into their rental house. The Richardson’s youngest daughter, Izzy, is drawn to the Warren’s and the unconventional life that they lead. Mia’s an artist who picks up part-time jobs to make rent and her life is the antithesis of the lives that everyone else in Shaker Heights lead.
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.- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Donation Call for Literature Featuring Marginalized Identities (POC, LGBTQ+, etc)
If you want to join me in my efforts in donating to the Women’s Center/Multicultural Affairs Office, mail your books to:
Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, Attn: Lisa Nielson
Tinkham Veale University Center, Suite 248
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7175.
USPS’s Media Mail option (comes with tracking) would be the cheapest option since they offer a discounted mailing rate for books (ie. $11.81 for 20 pounds of books). The Media Mail rate chart can be found here.
The donation should be tax-deductible as the university is a non-profit organization and information on tax deduction on book donations can be found here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comment below and I’ll try to respond ASAP.