Book club is back!!

The lovely Mandy

It’s so great to be back into reading after having 3 weeks off! I hope you have all had a great – very well deserved – rest! This week, I will be workshopping Little Fires Everywhere by American author Celeste Ng with my great friend and author Mandy Newman.

Little Fires Everywhere is Celeste Ng’s 2nd novel which was published in 2017. It has recently been made into a 8 part television series which can be seen in Australia on Amazon Prime. The book centres around two families living in 1990’s Shaker Heights, a town outside Cleveland in Ohio. These 2 families who have incredibly contrasting views on the world, are brought together through their children. The book explores motherhood, race and privilege. It encourages us to reflect on the limits of our own views and how conflict, privilege and exclusion could possibly create ‘fires’.

In 2017, it was Amazon’s Best Novel of the year. It was also the winner of the Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award in 2017. In the same year, it was named Book of the Year by Barnes & Noble, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post and many more.

About The Author

Celeste Ng moved to Shaker Heights at the age of 10. She credits the town with forming her view of the world. She describes writing about her hometown as “a little bit like writing about a relative. You see all of the great things about them, you love them dearly, and yet you also know all of their quirks and their foibles.”

She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan).  Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, and many other publications, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors.

Celeste’s first novel, Everything I Never Told You which was published in 2014 was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. It has been translated into over thirty languages and is being adapted for the screen. The thriller follows the struggles of the Lees, a mixed-race family in 1970’s Ohio, after their daughter Lydia’s body is found in a lake. It is rumoured that this will also be turned into a television show with Julia Roberts rumoured to be playing a leading role.

In many interviews, she describes herself as being pro-empathy. As a woman of Korean heritage, she has received a lot of online hate for marrying a white American man and having a child of mixed race. She tries very hard to understand where the hate has come from and not to judge.

The Verdict

Alex and Mandy both enjoyed the book however the girls both believe the TV show was far more developed. The author herself acknowledged the TV series allowed her to take the book to places she couldn’t go by herself which means the show would be the preferred option – but only if you had to choose!

You can listen to the podcast via the link below or your favourite podcast app.

Happy listening

Alex x