Starting in 2019 we promised we would review each of our book club books after our book club. Our first book of 2019 was Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it takes place in the progressive Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights where everything was planned to perfection. The book centers around the Richardson family, who perfectly embodied the Shaker Heights culture and come bring in Mia and Pearl, a single mother and her daughter who have bounced around from city to city and have currently found themselves renting an apartment in Shaker Heights which is owned by the Richardson family. Soon Mia and Pearl would become more than just the Richardsons tenants. But, when Mia's mysterious past comes up, they can not escape it and certain members of the Richardson family find out more than they bargained for. Each storyline within the book is told in its own way and ravels together so perfectly for the surprise ending.
Here are some questions we discussed during our book club, they may contain spoilers so read with caution:
1. Do you think would be different if the book took place in 2019 as opposed to the 1990's?
Sam thought: Absolutely! For starters, we would not be using pagers to communicate! But in terms of the characters, Mia would not have been able to get away with essentially vanishing with her surrogate's baby. One of our other book club ladies said Mrs. Richardson's job as a gossip columnist would also either not exist or be a lot different. You would not have to drive state lines to find out who someone's real parents are when you have the internet.
Karissa thought: I definitely think it would be so much different, and wayyy less interesting! With the internet it is way harder to hide things, and hide from people! Cell phones make it so much easier to find people, which I think would have entirely changed the book.
2. Which character would you say you relate to most?
Sam thought: I relate most to either Moody or Pearl. Moody is always in the middle of situations and doesn't always assert himself when he needs to to see results. Pearl is very curious and interested in seeing a whole new perspective of life when she is over at the wealthy Richardson's house. I relate to her draw to other characters and her ability to captivate any audience she is with.
Karissa thought: I second what Sam said. I also related most to Moody and Pearl. I think that both Moody and Pearl are very curious people. I also (embarrassingly) could relate to Mrs. Richardson in some aspects, always trying to find out information about people (facebook stalking is one of my top hobbies). It was very hard to me to relate to Mia in most aspects-- I could never just run away from my family and not tell them where I was- and just run around from place to place without looking back!
3. What do you think happened immediately after the story ended? Will Pearl ever see the Richardsons again?
Sam thought: I think that after some time passes and Pearl and settled in whatever state her and Mia decide to temporarily live in she will reach out to either Trip or Moody. Shaker Heights and the Richardsons affected her more than any past location she has lived in and she will not let that go as easily as Mia forced her to.
Karissa thought: I feel like the Richardson's will (hopefully) try and find Izzy, and then go back to their "normal" life. I think that because the Richardsons impacted Pearl so much, she will never stop trying to communicate with them and hopefully someday she will be reunited with them. I think she won't be able to be reunited until the truth comes out about who actually had the abortion.
4. What does the title of the book mean to you?
Sam thought: I took the title to mean not only little fires spread everyone with gasoline to create their large house fire but as a metaphor for all the little conficts going on in the story that all come together to ignite into one large fire at the end. Lexie's issue with her baby may seem like its own little fire but it is all connected to the large story that involve Bebe's baby and Mrs. Richardson and essentially every character. It is interesting how Izzy is seemingly a background character but is so affected to everyone else's drama and finally ends it all by burning it down.
Karissa thought: Honestly, I didn't think of the title other than it's literal meaning of Izzy starting little fires everywhere. But, after Sam brought up what the title meant to her... it definitely has a double meaning!
P.S. rumor has it, this book will be created into a mini series on HULU starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington! Can't wait!!