Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is an excellent weekend or vacation read. Beautifully written, and emotionally compelling while I was listening to it. I found myself rooting for some characters, hoping certain things would or wouldn't happen, and pulled in all the directions that I would want to be (even if I didn't *want* to be) to keep me going to the end. The challenge here is that, I had a sense that I had heard this story before. The most intriguing character of the story, Mia, the starving artist and single parent, is also the most opaque. Some readers here seem to argue that Ng writes to much in Mia's favor, but I actually read it more as somewhat of a hesitancy to commit to a full analysis of Mia, for better or for worse.
Ultimately, as beautifully as the writing is, I don't see this as a story that will linger in my thoughts long after it has ended. The characters trode very familiar territory. The exception to this might be the case involving a child's adoption. Here I felt quite strongly that there was more debate that could have been explored, but was not, in order to keep the Shaker families squarely in the roles that were created for them. I did not seem to feel the sympathy for (being opaque to avoid spoilers) some characters in the trial that the author did, particularly given the past choices of the character, and how easily that should have come up in the trial as a source of skepticism of the plaintiff.
Still, because the story was so artfully crafted, I leaned toward four stars. Definitely worth a read.
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