Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng – “Everyone sees race, Lex. The only difference is who pretends not to.”

Celeste Ng became the IT AUTHOR. Ng’s novels have many purposes: from entertaining and intriguing to an academic and complex conversation. Little Fires Everywhere fears no author and no repercussion by exposing the reality of privilege, ignorance, and superiority complex.

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Celeste Ng has two main forces in her novel: Mia and Mrs. Richardson, and they are the antitheses of each other; however, the privileged and entitled Mrs. Richardson became the cause of many troubles. Although this might be a personal opinion, Mia helped a friend and cared for the Richardson’s daughters and never had a bad intention, contrary to Mrs. Richardson, who had a secret and unfunded vendetta against Mia. Mrs. Richardson became the scapegoat of an entitled and morally superior generation. Her moral compass points towards herself as a beacon of moral rightfulness that everybody should abide by and, which set of rules, apply to her only when her interest demand it because otherwise, she would break the law.

Ignorance turns the novel around as the pivotal trait of many of the characters. Mrs. Richardson ignored many things from her family and those around her, but it did not stop her from judging everybody else. The McCollughs embodied how ignorance leads to racism. Privilege people tend to separate into groups those different from them, but mainly, they make their groups of privileged people. Having only one group of people or demographic around might shorten one’s views of the world but also gives a sense of bellowing and family. For example, the Latin Town, China Town, Korean Town, and the “Italian Town” are communities and subgroups of cultures living in a bigger one. In this case, the McCollughs depend on the mass media and what white society feeds them about other cultures. That fact explains why they resort to racist stereotypes to define a culture (giving their daughter a panda bear for her to be closest to her culture, giving her rice as her first solid food “and she loves it!”, and even taking her to a Chinese restaurant for her to “hear Chinese.” They even define the “standard” doll as white, blond, and blue-eyed). These actions come from ignorance and a lack of exposure to members of other communities that Celeste indirectly denounces in her novel.

Books like Little Fires Everywhere make a mark in the world when read properly. I believe one should enjoy books in different ways depending on their purpose. Some books are to be enjoyed just for the plot and execution. Others books, like Celeste’s, ought to be enjoyed by their criticism and the tough topics they expose in their pages. Reading Little Fires Everywhere requires a critical eye and an open mind to start questioning one’s biases and become an ally and supporter of differences.

Extremely important. A book worth celebrating for exposing the racism that many have decided to ignore and others who forgot about it.

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