BOOK TITLE: Everything Here Is Beautiful
BOOK AUTHOR: Mira T. Lee
PUBLISHER: Pamela Dorman Books
January 16th 2018
GENRES: Literary Fiction
CHECK IT OUT AT: Goodreads
BUY IT: Buy on Amazon
Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister's protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it's Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor's diagnosis.
Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?
Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we're willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it's time to let go and save ourselves.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Haunting. Beautiful. Provocative.
These are all words I scrawled in the margins of Mira T. Lee’s Everything Here Is Beautiful.
I’ve never dealt with mental health issues myself, aside from the most basic of anxiety and depression, but I understand its impact on a family. I’ve been touched by mental health issues for most of my life, even before they were called mental health issues.
Reading the different points of view in Everything Here Is Beautiful was effective and honest. Being an older sister of a person with mental health issues, I felt Miranda’s pain. It’s hard, but at some point you do have to make your own life a priority. I haven’t been the best older sister at times, because I also have to be a mom (and the mother of a child with disabilities). Thank goodness my sibling is in a wonderful place now, with a wonderful support system of friends and family, and an awesome job. As long as life is good, he’s good. It’s anxiety that gets the best of him at times of stress, I believe. And then it’s a spiral.
So I felt Miranda’s pain, deeply. But it was the chapter in which Lee wrote from Lucia’s perspective that really got to me. Reading it I really felt like she was being reasonable and normal. I’m still not sure if she was taking her meds or not during that time. She’s so lost, trying to fulfill her needs while also quelling the fears of all those around her.
Lee tells a stunning story of two sisters bound by love and loss, torn apart by mental illness. It was not a book I raced through wanting to know what happens; instead I savored it, taking time to really think about the passages and digest the many lives Lucia’s mental illness touched.
And I stick by my original statement. Haunting. Beautiful. Provocative.