All In Good Storytime

category: Literature

Page Forty-Nine--We Didn't Start the Fire

11/18/2018


In the 49th episode of All in Good Storytime, we read chapters 1-6 of "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng. In these opening chapters, we are introduced to the upper-middle-class town of Shaker Heights and the characters that reside here. We learn about Mia, an artsy single mom, and Pearl, her teenage daughter, along with the Richardson family from whom they rent their house on the less fancy side of town. The four Richardson siblings are Lexie, the shallow eldest daughter, Trip, the boring jock, Moody, the "nice guy" with a crush on Pearl, and Izzy, the inexplicably ostracized youngest sibling.

We begin by thoroughly examining Lexie. At times she appears vapid and cruel to an extent that is uncharacteristic for a high school senior applying to Yale. She oscillates between superficiality and generosity in a way that fails to add to her characterization in any meaningful way. It does not seem that her character is so complex or has such depth that she is capable of these varied actions, but that the author is uncertain of who she is. We continue by dumping on Moody for slut-shaming his older siblings and for being pathetically jealous of Pearl's relationship with his family when he was the one to introduce her to them because he feared he was too boring to hold her attention. Finally, we share our theory that Mia is not simply a bad mom who forces her child to live a nomadic lifestyle to support her artistic dreams without fully committing to those dreams herself, but that she was a surrogate mother to Pearl and ran away with her. We also question whether this book will fully devolve into a Wicked fanfic.

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