Book vs. Hulu Review: Little Fires Everywhere

*all opinions are my own

After reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, I had a sense of calm. Throughout this book, there is turmoil with each of the characters going through their own self-learning journey. Tripp, Lexie, Moody, and Izzy each have their own unique outlook on life and each of them presents their own set of ethics. When a woman in the small town of Shaker suddenly wants custody of her baby that she had recently abandoned months before, the whole town rallies behind the biological mother and the adoptive parents. With each character unfolding at every chapter, the custody battle also unravels. Even though the book starts more from the perspective of Pearl and Mia, I think the true main character was Izzy. Izzy is this family rebel who goes against the grain. Izzy as a pivotal character struggles to please her mother but she wants to be true to herself.

Half closed laptop over book Rishabh Agarwal on Unsplash

Izzy is described to be an angsty middle school girl struggling with self-identity.

Lexie is an ivy league bound, overachiever, and people pleaser. She struggles with how to be authentic, and how to be honest with herself and her boyfriend.

Tripp is your basic high school jock and he comes across as a player at least on the surface. Once he discovers his feelings for Pearl his identity as a player diminishes.

Moody is a sweet honest friend with a major crush on Pearl. He was Pearl’s first friend in Shaker and he has a welcoming personality. Moody is probably the one character that does not go through an identity crisis.

Pearl is the new girl in town and she likes to write poetry. Pearl is very intelligent and she is Moody’s new best friend, but she is also Tripp’s new lover.

Mia is an artist running from past choices. Mia and Pearl live on the bare minimum and never plant themselves in one place.

Elena is the mother of Tripp, Lexie, Moody, and Izzy. She is a journalist in Shaker and uncovers a lot about Mia's life which starts an avalanche of emotions not only for Mia, but for everyone in Shaker.

Little Fires Everywhere is a heartfelt story of learning from your decisions, owning your mistakes, pushing past prejudice, and knowing when to start over. summer sparklers fireworks bonfire Anna Thetard / Her Campus

I was so excited when I heard about the Hulu mini-series based on the book. I could not have been more excited about Kerry Washington portraying the character of Mia. I am a huge fan of Kerry Washington, so I would recommend watching every show and movie she stars in!

The first three episodes of the show were off to a great start and gave me hope that Hulu stayed true to the book. Boy was I wrong! After episode three, producers took the characters in different directions than in the book, losing character integrity. The Hulu writers also changed important details in the book, and of course, left out major components. It seemed as if they read the book, decided on a screenplay, and then decided they needed to make it “more appealing" by adding forbidden sexual relations between characters to hold the audience’s attention. In my opinion, this was such a shame. There was a storyline for Lexie to have sexual relations with others, but not for all the characters. I think the producers removed a lot of Izzy’s character and her integrity which made me feel very disappointed because watching her evolve as a person was probably my favorite. One of the biggest themes throughout the book was how each character had a different perspective of right and wrong, and how this is connected to the real world. We as humans all have different perceptions of what is considered right and wrong. The book drives home on how "right" and "wrong" depend on a persons' perspective and where they are "sitting" in relation to what is going on. One person's "right" does not necessarily mean it is everyone's "right". I think we as a society often forget about our own individual choices.

The beginning of the book starts with describing Elena’s house burning down with her kids watching from the top of a car. Izzy the only one missing at this point. The reference of “little fires” in the book title was from when Mia told Izzy that sometimes things need to burn down to start fresh again. Izzy took this to heart, but, unfortunately, it was a major piece that producers forgot to include in the Hulu series.

Overall, I was strongly disappointed how this Hulu series turned out and I think that it might have been the biggest disappointment of quarantine 2020 so far.

HCXO