"Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng deserves all the press it's gotten. And it's soon to be a limited TV series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Talk about family dysfunction but an interesting one.
The author grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio which is the setting for her book. It's almost a character itself. Shaker Heights is a planned, upscale community and somewhat insular. Mrs. Richardson has lived in this "utopia" her whole life. She and her husband are busy working and raising their four teenage children. Then, along comes Mia, a transient artist and her teenage daughter Pearl who have recently moved into the Richardsons' rental home in a less desirable section of the suburb. Gradually, Mia and Pearl's lives intersect with the Richardson family. All goes along so well...
You know from the opening pages that the Richardson daughter is the prime suspect in burning down their beautiful suburban home. Izzy has set "little fires everywhere" much to the horror of the rest of the family. The mystery is how did things go so wrong.
The author explores many themes in this intricate family story: class, race, mothers, daughters, abortion, adoption, the list goes on. All the while she has crafted a novel that is hard to put down. As one reviewer stated "it is a masterclass in characterization". Book clubs will love this selection.