Book Club: Little Fires Everywhere

Audible Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng, Book review

In an effort to consume more media and books by women of color, I found myself drawn to Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere. I had heard so many excellent reviews of this book and so many praises of Ng's writing style. I'm a fan of good writing and a good story so I began my Audible journey through Little Fires

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Goodreads Synopsis: 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia's.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

Related post: Book Club: The Things We Wish Were True

My Review

This book was a masterpiece! I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when just reading the synopsis. I've know people who were cross-cultural adoptees and I also know that a lot of people make big mistakes. 

A Chinese immigrant (Bebe Chow) from Canton is abandoned by her boyfriend soon after her pregnancy. With her limited English, no degree, and a looming birth, she takes odd jobs, only to find herself fired when she takes time off from her part time minimum wage job to give birth to her baby, May Ling Chow. She suffers from Post Partum Depression. She's unable to feed her baby. In a moment of horrible depression, anxiety, and desperation, she leaves her baby on the steps of a fire station. She is found just a few miles away, starving and near death. Months go by and Bebe has a steadier job, an apartment, and had been given antidepressants and in a much more stable place than she was when she left her baby. The problem is her baby had already been adopted by an upper middle class white family and given a new name, Mirabelle McCullough. One of the big plots of the book (and one that certainly piqued my interest) is this: what makes a mother? Biology or love? The answer is not as simple as it seems. 

Originally, I was of the mindset that once you abandon your baby, you have no more claim to him or her. On top of which, the McCulloughs are obviously in a more financially stable position than Bebe obviously was, and better able to provide for the baby. Then I started reading about the court arguments and started realizing how ill-equipped the McCulloughs may be to raise a child that looked nothing like them. They knew nothing of Asian and Chinese culture, and while it doesn't necessarily mean white parents can't adopt a child of color, it certainly made me think about how complicated cross-cultural adoptions work. 

You see how this adoption and custody battle plays out through the other main characters in the book. Mothers who do what they have to do to protect their children and their spaces. Mia's complicated relationship with her daughter, Pearl, was written in parallel to how it relates to her feelings on Bebe's wish to have her child back. Mia, who I disliked in the beginning of the book, ended up becoming my favorite character. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It's thought-provoking, well written, and an overall lovely read! 


  1. I have this book on my list to read, especially since I saw that HULU picked this up. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington will be in the series!

    1. No way! I had no idea it was getting the HULU treatment, that's awesome! I can totally see Reese Witherspoon playing Mrs. Richardson! I can't wait to watch it!

  2. ahh it sounds so good! Honestly, I need more hours in the day to keep up with all these book recs I'm adding to my list haha!

  3. Sounds so good! Adding to my reading list!

  4. This looks like an amazing book! Thanks for the recommandation!!

  5. i'm trying to discover more asian (american) authors and this author's books are very high on my list! i'm glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Adding to my list! I keep hearing people rave about this one :)

  7. Oh wow, this book sounds so interesting! I love how to incorporates cross-cultures which we're seeing a lot more these days!


  8. This sounds FASCINATING!! You had me hooked from the first few lines of the review. I want to read!

    xoxo A

  9. Thanks for reviewing this! It's always great to hear about new books to read.
    xoxo Carolyn @

  10. I've heard great things about this book. A very interesting read! xo, Suzanne

  11. This is such an awesome book. LOVE.

  12. This book sounds so good! I've been trying so hard to read more - definitely going to add it to my list!

  13. I actually just downloaded this last night, now i'm excited to read it!

  14. This sounds like a great read! I love your book reviews

  15. I'm going to the beach today, so I think this will be my beach read!

  16. This sounds like a good, interesting read-- I'm def going to check it out!

  17. This book is unlike any other one I have read, but I was so captivated by the whole thing. I was hesitant at first to pick it up, but I had a good friend recommend it and I'm so happy she did!

  18. This has been on my reading list for months! Your post has totally convinced me to pick this up before my next vacation!

    Birdie Shoots


Thank you for your comments! I read every single one :]