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I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since the day I finished reading Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You in the spring of 2016. I just happened upon that book randomly at the local library. I’d been in a bit of a dry spell, reading-wise and Everything I Never Told You all at once flipped the switch inside of me and made me hungry for books. I went back to the library to find more books by her but there weren’t any. She hadn’t written any! Until now. *rubs hands together*
I’ve always had a love affair with first works by an author. It’s kind of like a musician’s first album—here’s the piece that’s been living inside of them for ages and they’ve had a lifetime to turn it over and make it perfect. Or, at least, that’s how I imagine it. And when the second book comes around, I’m eager to read it but not often as enchanted as I was that first time. This time was different. Little Fires Everywhere held me just the same.
Ng is a master storyteller. She is exactly what I’m looking for in literature. She can take all these individual strands and move them about in ways that make you eager to follow along, not sure where she’s taking this and then at the end you can see this magnificent braid with just a few fly-aways because she’s not afraid to leave some questions unanswered.
Sometimes I believe in spoilers and sometimes I don’t. For this particular book, I’m not going to tell you much. I don’t want to tell you any of the plot secrets and I don’t want to tell you my interpretation, either. Because I really want to hear how it spoke to you.
But in the first chapter, we more or less open on a house on fire. One of the fire inspectors knew that it was arson because there were “little fires everywhere.” Hearing the title of the book in the very first chapter piqued my interest in the direction of fire. So for the rest of the book I was noting when anything was described with fire language. This set me on a path of seeing what was living at the heart of this story: obedience vs rebellion.
As a girl who’s spent the past few years intentionally following my own arrow (and thusly repeatedly disappointing a certain type of people while also empowering another type of people)—this theme resonated with me in powerful ways. But who knows—it could just be this very thing in my life that saw that theme in the first point. Maybe it’s not there? Maybe it is? Who could know?
I can’t wait to have our book club meeting and find out (I’m writing this early and setting it to post after we’ve had our book club meeting but at the time of this writing, it has as of yet not taken place)! Our book club meetings are always so fun. I’m always in a weird mood and don’t really want to do it but the second we all start talking, it fills my joy-tank all the way up. Nothing fills me up like a book discussion does.
Anyway, go order Little Fires Everywhere. It’s just as good as Everything I Never Told You. Hell, order them both.
For the month of February we’ll be reading Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I’m really stoked to get into this story. I haven’t seen the movie, yet! I know, I know. But I’m really excited to get into this one.