For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer. It’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.
TW: Abuse, Racism, Mommy Issues, Daddy Issues (I’m sorry it’s been a month since I listened to it, so if there are triggers I missed, I’m sorry.)
Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam. Neither of them is a particularly likable character. They are seriously messed up. But if I have to choose one over the other, I’ll take Sam, thanks.
For one, both have issues with their mothers, but for different reasons. To my idea, Sam has a legitimate reason to have issues with his mother, considering what she did to him. Penny, on the other hand, has issues with her mother for being herself. Penny seems to think that her mom is embarrassing and a pain in Penny’s butt on purpose. To my idea, that’s ludicrous and Penny is just being a brat.
When Penny moves to college and meets Sam via her dorm roommate, they become friends and text each other. Which is fine. Except they don’t tell anyone. They literally keep this a secret, when at first, there is literally no reason to. They’re just friends who talk to each other.
By the way, it takes way too long for them to figure out they have feelings for each other. Seriously. I thought they’d never figure it out. I had it figured out way before they did.
I don’t care for Mary H. K. Choi’s writing style – at least not in this book. I don’t mind books with multiple points of view, but this one was just irritating. At times it didn’t even seem like Sam and Penny were in the same story the way the chapters jumped around between Penny and Sam.
I gave it one star because I just did not like the book at all. I might give Permanent Record a try, but if it’s anything like Emergency Contact, I’m going to chalk it up to Mary H. K. Choi not being the author for me.
Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.
I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this book. I mean, I rated it 4 stars, so I obviously I liked it, but I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the book.
Little Fires Everywhere is a wonderful novel. I’m not going to say it isn’t. It’s thought provoking. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you angry. You’ll find yourself taking sides on issues raised in the book. You’ll find yourself heartbroken for characters who have lost something. You’ll find yourself hoping that characters get what they are looking for in the end.
I went out of my genre comfort zone for this book. I don’t normally read books that are in the “Fiction” or “Adult Fiction” category unless I’ve been seeing them everywhere – which I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about this book. I’ve seen where people say it’s slow moving, which I suppose you could say that it is, but I read it in 2 days, so it can’t be that slow moving. Usually when I think of a slow moving book, it takes me over a week to read the book because it moves so slowly that I can’t get into it. I think it is more a matter of the book moves slowly if you simply aren’t interested in it.
I fell in love with the kids in this book – Pearl and Izzy especially. I keep wondering if Trip & Moody really are named that or if they are nicknames for which we simply are never given their proper given names. The kids are just so genuine and I know how Izzy feels because I’ve felt that way on more than one occasion with my family (although in my case it is extended family who make me feel that way, not my parents).
The May Ling Chow/Mirabelle McCullough story line tugged at my heart. I can totally see how both sides felt, but I must admit, I sided with Bebe Chow. You’ll have to tell me which side you chose in that debate.
All in all, the book is a really good read and I do recommend that you check it out if you’re into adult fiction.