'Little Fires Everywhere' Review: The Little Things About Privilege
**This article may contain spoilers***
The novel, Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng talks about Shaker Heights, a seemingly perfect community within Cleveland, Ohio. The timeline is set in the Clinton administration. It is not set in present day. The author talks about a perfect family seen in the Richardsons with a wife, Elena and a husband, Bill and 4 kids. Perfect house, perfect school system, perfect neighborhood. Nothing interested happens in this overwhelming white community. Just casual racism seen in the violin teacher and the clear segregation in malls. But nothing out of the ordinary.
There is no problems with the children of the main family. There are perfectly cut into the perfect stereotypes. There is the sporty male one fulfilled by Trip. The artsy and quiet middle child played by Moody. The popular pretty and smart girl played by Lexie. The black sheep in the family played by Izzy.
The author touched on many issues within this book. The slow burn of the rising of the plot was noticed and appreciated. The overwhelming problems in the family and the community was ultimately shown by the outsiders. Pearl and Mia Warren. A mother-daughter pair of nomads who go where Mia's inspiration goes. The Richardson family, mainly the children is put in the spotlight and put in depth by the help of Pearl and Mia. They put each child in the front and show their weaknesses and strengths to the reader.
This happens when a white family wants to adopt a Chinese baby that was found at the town's fire station. It was supposed to be a happy ending for the wife and husband who desperately wants a child. But the twist is that the mother wants her child back. Then that's when the real topic starts.
Is love enough to raise a baby that is adopted into a family that is not the same race? What will happen when the child is grown and has no connection to her culture? Why should race matter at all when love is all you need to care for a baby? These are some of the questions asked in Shaker Heights that tears this neighborhood down the middle.
Because of the set timeline in the book. This is before the widespread knowledge of diversity and how it is needed in all communities. This is before all the campaigns and products finally showing that the white standard of entertainment and history is no longer acceptable as normal. This book is set in a time where when someone is"color blind" that is an acceptable way to look at things. A time where privilege was never, if at all was questioned.
This is all then ruined by a mother and friend who swears that she means well, Elena Richardson. A person who never had to struggle to get what she wants so when trouble hits her perfect community. She must work hard to get the smokes and mirrors back up for the sake of her friends and family.
Mia, being an outsider gives an opportunity on how the place of Shaker Heights is really seen. But Elena knowing how Shaker Heights all her life but never questioned it. These two strong women try their hardest to fight for what they think is right. Just one is willing to go just a bit more deeper.
I love the book as a whole. The way that Ng starts on many conversations that need to be talked about is well done the only problem is that it was too short. But the book is too small to fit everything wrong and right about Shaker Hights and the Richardsons. So she just starts little sparks in each part of the story. The book is perfect way to start to ask questions about one's surroundings and to maybe one day find a way to confront the problems sometimes not seen by all.
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