Hey there friends. Last month I suggested an idea ~ an online book club of sorts. I suggested a book to read and promised I would post a discussion question or two for us to “talk” about. I am so hoping that some of you have read this book and are willing to share your thoughts. So, the book is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I found these discussion questions here. I also borrowed this quick summary of the book in a nutshell (in case you might want to read it)..
At first glance, Mrs. Richardson is the perfect mother. She and her family seem to have an ideal life, in an upscale community, where everything is well planned, and there are rules for everything, right down to the colors allowed for your home. Mia, on the other hand, appears selfish and nomadic, moving from town to town, never putting down roots, and dragging her teenage daughter along. But, as the lives of these two women unfold and get entangled, you gradually begin to see that all is not as it seems.
Another critical part of this story revolves around the adoption of a Chinese baby by Mrs. Richardson’s friends, who are unable to have children of their own. As the adoption process proceeds, there are complications, ending in a fierce custody battle. Issues such as inter-racial adoption, child abandonment, and income inequities are examined.
Discussion Question 1
The debate over the fate of May Ling/Mirabelle is multilayered and heartbreaking. Who do you think should raise her?
This is a very tough question. I have empathy for both mothers. Still, I do feel May Ling should stay with her adoptive parents because, simply put, they are more stable. They have the means to do so and they clearly WANT to be parents. Meanwhile, the birth mother did not plan for this baby. She simply could not care for the baby. To disrupt May Ling’s life after she has settled with her new family would be very hard on her.
Discussion Question 2
We see how race and class underline the experiences of all the characters and how they interact with each other. In what ways are attitudes toward race and class different and the same today as in the late 1990s, when the book is set?
This race question is so complicated. I posted about my favorite books of 2017 here, and my fav was all about the question of race and how it affects us. In my mind, I feel like the different experiences of the characters are more due to class than to race. I would like to think that in terms of race relations, we are constantly evolving and improving; however, the news does not always suggest as much.
Also, given that I am not a minority race, it’s hard for me to speak to those experiences. What I can say regarding race that is different from when I was growing up is this; my boys do not seem to register a person’s race as an important trait. It’s not even on their radar. I am not suggesting they aren’t aware of race. Rather, they just don’t care about it. To me, that is a sign that things are improving.
Please share with me your thoughts on those questions. I feel like when people share their answers we open up to new perspectives. And, I guess the biggest question is what did you think of the book? Does it get two thumbs up? Comment below.
Until next time ~