Here at RCM, we love books. We also love any opportunity participate in an awesome book club. So we decided to smoosh the two together and create the virtual Rocket City Mom Book Club! More info about our next title is below, and you can request to join the conversation here. Happy reading!
This month’s RCM Virtual Book Club title is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Join us virtually on Thursday, March 26 at 8:30 PM CST. If you can’t make it at THAT time, check back in throughout the week to keep the discussion going. Big thanks to The Snail On the Wall Books for sponsoring our title selections, and Shannan for her review below!
Little Fires Everywhere
Like our last couple of picks: A Man Called Ove and Where the Crawdads Sing, Little Fires Everywhere was another book that I have successfully avoided until it was picked as our book club selection. It’s also our second Reese’s Book Club pick in a row.
And like the aforementioned picks, this is an excellent book and is also a forthcoming Hulu television series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington for a reason. I recommend reading the book first BEFORE you watch the show!
Little Fires Everywhere is about a lot of things; it’s about class, race, and socioeconomic conditions. It’s about structure and plans, and art and creativity. But what makes it an appropriate pick for this book club is that it is about mothers. Celest Ng asks all kinds of questions revolving around motherhood. What does it mean to be a mother? What makes someone a good mother? What makes someone an unfit mother? Who decides? And why do this proverbial “they” get the right to decide?
The Grass Is Always Greener
Like Ng, I came to the conclusion that the answers to these questions are not black and white, as Mrs. Richardson believes. Mrs. Richardson (didn’t you just love the fact that she’s Mrs. Richardson, not Elena throughout the book?) believes that intentionality and order are the keys to a happy life. Mia believes in the freedom to move around, to create, to be. And subsequently Mrs. Richardson’s daughter, Izzy, wants to be Mia’s daughter, while Mia’s daughter, Pearl, wonders that it would be like to be Mrs. Richardson’s.
Many of us only really begin to appreciate (or empathize with) our own mothers when we become mothers ourselves and realize how extremely difficult it is mothering another human as we struggle with our own humanity. Because make no mistake, like all the characters in Little Fires, that is what we’re all doing – struggling – and our children will eventually see most, if not all, of our flaws.
Mia and Mrs. Richardson lie (outright or by omission) to their children, mostly in the name of protecting them. Which it never does, in fiction or real life. If anything, we do ourselves and our children a huge disservice not to share the truth of our experiences – our hunger, our longing, our desires, and our mistakes. What might we do differently, if we could?
My Problem with the Book
Effective mothering, and being an effective human being, involves “lingering comfortably in the gray spaces”. And Celest Ng, in Little Fires, invites you to do just that.
Which brings me to my personal beef with the book. Like Ms. Richardson, I crave order and have an innate need for resolution, and a satisfactory one at that. I am not comfortable in the “gray spaces.” Did Izzy find Mia? Did Mrs. Richardson find Izzy? What happened after? Like mothering, Little Fires left more questions than it answered. I need a sequel!
Let’s talk about all of this, and there is so much to talk about, on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8:30 PM CST on Facebook. Doesn’t our virtual book club look like sheer genius now?
Special thanks to our book club sponsor, The Snail on the Wall. Pick up a copy of our next pick, Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber. Participate in our discussion of Little Fires, and you will have an opportunity to win Midnight. And FYI, Heather will join us to talk about the book in May!
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Shannan Moore Malone squeezes in the time to write while taking care of the Buddy Man. As you already know, she loves books but she also loves great movies, running, and is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a foodie. Though generally more on the quiet side, you can get her talking by mentioning living authentically, the importance of clarity and organization, and enjoying life, which she occasionally writes about on her blog her blog and posts about on Instagram @shannanenjoyslife.