A fellow blogger and dear friend of mine, Hunida, writes posts where she pulls her favorite quotes from the recent books she has read. I always love reading the quotes she chooses and she has inspired me to do one of my own posts.
You may recognize the title since Little Fires Everywhere is now a show on Hulu based upon the novel by Celeste Ng. I think I have a particular affinity for this book because I grew up near where the story takes place. She mentions various places, restaurants, suburbs that I have a very personal connection to in various ways. She also has a brief portion of the book located in San Francisco. So am I bias toward this book? Yes, objectively I would say so. However, her writing was what captivated me the most, I admired her perspective and portrayal of her characters that resonated in a visceral, nearly Freudian, manner.
I tried to find a way to sum up the story, but there is no great way that captures the intricacies of the tale at hand: I’ll say this- it’s about two families and their children. The story explores the depths of relationships, ethics, pride, desire, choices, regret and youth.
I have been watching the Hulu series, although I am a bit behind. The one thing that does not translate to the screen is the brilliance of Celeste Ng’s writing. The story seemed to be changed slightly in order to create more of a visually dramatic effect where the book rolls you through the various tumultuous emotions you inevitably experience in a much more placated manner. The beauty of her writing almost provides a sense of awe that cushions the intensity of coming to grips with your own lived experiences being mirrored vaguely through the layered plot- at least it felt this way for me.
So without further adieu, I hope to highlight some of the absolute genius that is the author Celeste Ng. Of course, without context it will be difficult to truly appreciate the words in all their glory- but hopefully this lends a taste.
“At that moment Moody had a sudden clear understanding of what had already happened that morning: his life had been divided into a before and an after, and we would always be comparing the two”
“She could see the similarities between the two lonely children, even more clearly than they could: the same sensitive personalities lurking inside both of them, the same bookish wisdom layered over a deep naïveté.”
“But the thing about portraits is, you need to show people the way they want to be seen. And I prefer to show people as I see them. So in the end I’d probably just frustrate us both”.
“Peters felt a brief pang of irritation at their youth, their frivolity, their ease.”
“I don’t have a plan, I’m afraid,” she said lifting the knife again. “But then no one really does, no matter what they say”.
“Everything she thought she’d forgotten- her body remembered on a cellular level”.
“Though she could never quite articulate it this way, resentment began to sheathe concern. ANGER IS FEAR’S BODYGUARD…”.
“…she found everything had nuance; everything had an unrevealed side or unexplored depths. Everything was worth looking at more closely”.
“…one day crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in a fog so dense she could hear, but not see…The fog mirrored her state of mind so perfectly she felt as if she was walking through her own brain: a haze of formless, pervasive emotion, nothing she could grasp, but full of looming thoughts that appeared from nowhere, startling her, then receded into whiteness again before she was even sure what she had seen.”
“Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less…It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all”
“It terrifies you. That you missed out on something. That you gave up something you didn’t know you wanted”
“All her life she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry an ember for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame: a reminder of light and goodness that would never-could never- set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity.”
“She didn’t care, Mrs. Richardson realized, what people thought of her. In a way, that made her dangerous.”