Celeste Ng Makes Me Uncomfortable
Celeste Ng is the queen of presenting us with impossible issues we can’t possibly agree on or solve.
And that’s what I love about her books. They make you think.
They also make you a bit uncomfortable, sometimes frustrated. Definitely aggravated. Celeste Ng is brilliant at writing in the grey space of social issues, making you question values and beliefs you’ve held for years.
There were times when I wanted to quit reading Little Fires Everywhere because there was so much discomfort. But in the end, I devoured it within a week.
Little Fires Everywhere
This book follows a typical “American dream” type family with four teenage kids living the life in 1997. (Oddly, the year I graduated from high school, which made this story all the more real for me.) Along comes a mother and daughter to rent their small rental house not far away.
Everyone has a past, secrets, and issues to deal with. There were so many dilemmas presented in this one novel that it’s hard to believe they all fit in neatly. But Ng wove them together seamlessly and realistically.
In the spaces of these fiery pages, we deal with motherhood, abortion, racial relations, socioeconomic issues, what it means to be an artist, living your dreams or dealing with those you never fulfill, teenage angst and drama, sibling relationships, abandonment, adoption, ethical and moral issues… I think I covered them all! Phew!
Comparing Little Fires Everywhere with Everything I Never Told You
I must confess I didn’t love this book as much as Everything I Never Told You. (Super cheap at Amazon right now! Click the link to get your copy.) They are quite different in format and mood. While Little Fires Everywhere is straightforward with a more coherent timeline and narrative, Everything I Never Told You is more poetic and bounces in a completely unique and unexpected way. I was enthralled by Celeste Ng’s writing in her first novel. Almost more so than the story. And was enthralled more with the story and less with the writing in the second.
Nevertheless, I’d highly recommend them both. And now I can’t wait to watch the show! I hope it doesn’t disappoint! I hope that Mrs. Richardson’s character is just as annoying and despicable as I found her to be in the book.
Not a Fan of the Ending
My one complaint is I didn’t love the very last paragraph of the book. Or I should say it didn’t feel like the end. It felt like there needed to be one more sentence or one more paragraph, but perhaps that was intentional considering the discussion in the last paragraph. Kind of a hanging that wasn’t finished.
What do you think? Have you read Little Fires Everywhere? Do you think you will? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to discuss it with you!
***Affiliate links used throughout post