Report on The Page Turners Meeting - Meeting, Thursday, 10 January 2019

Little fires everywhere can be a simile for most problems don’t come from a single issue, or that a single problem can be managed. It’s the complexity of multiple problems or the knock on effect of circumstances that causes the real issues.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, however, failed to convey much complexity and even the domino effect that led to the youngest daughter of the Richardson family leaving home felt too clean and without the emotion of messy circumstances.
The characters in the book matched very well the Shaker Heights setting of the story; a place where the town council determined where the residents stored their bins and what colour they painted their houses. The distresses and ordeals felt by some characters seemed to have one eye on the rules that governed the neighbourhood. Everyone that lived there was implicated in keeping the status quo functioning.
There were big moral issues spotlighted by the author; the fate of an abandoned baby, the question of bringing up a child in a culture different to the one they were born into and the family secrets that keep parents and child divided and separated. But the spotlight did not go to probe too deeply and kept thus kept the emotions of the readers subdued and distant. The readers were manipulated into keeping the planned state of affairs of Shaker Heights intact.
The book caused a couple of our group to abandon their reading at first attempt, but finish reading at the second. There was a general consensus that few felt any real connection with the characters, because it was difficult to visualise their lives. Every character felt just too perfect – not because they were necessarily nice people, rather their actions were too controlled and tightly packaged. Only the youngest daughter exposed her soul sufficiently to arouse mush empathy. The underlying topics should have generated more discussion in our group.
Our discussion instead closed with one of us feeling that the book was a “beach read”. Another reader said that although the found the book very easy to read and the main characters were easily remembered, she could not recommend the book to others.
Our overall score 6.5
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