Everything Here is Beautiful
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.

Everything Here is Beautiful Details

TitleEverything Here is Beautiful
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 16th, 2018
PublisherPamela Dorman Books
ISBN-139780735221963
Rating
GenreFiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Health, Contemporary, Adult, Adult Fiction, Family, Psychology, Literary Fiction

Everything Here is Beautiful Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    There are times when everything here really is beautiful, but there were many times when it wasn't. The times when the complexities of a woman's recurring mental illness not only take over her life, but impacts the lives of the people close to her - her sister, the men in her life, her baby daughter. This story is filled with sadness and love as Lucia struggles with her demons, those voices in her head, the ups and downs, while trying to just live out her dreams and desires. It's also very much There are times when everything here really is beautiful, but there were many times when it wasn't. The times when the complexities of a woman's recurring mental illness not only take over her life, but impacts the lives of the people close to her - her sister, the men in her life, her baby daughter. This story is filled with sadness and love as Lucia struggles with her demons, those voices in her head, the ups and downs, while trying to just live out her dreams and desires. It's also very much her sister Miranda's story who is desperate to help Lucia get the right diagnosis, the right medication and puts her life on hold every time Lucia needs help whether she wants it or not . The story is told from multiple points of view - Miranda's and Lucia's, both when she is doing well and the times when she isn't. We also get the perspective of Manny, the Ecuadorian man who is the father of Lucia's daughter, with whom she has a relationship with after her marriage fails. It's hard to read at times as it depicts the difficulties of treatment, the difficulties of compliance with treatment and the difficulties of diagnosing the illness and the things that happen when Lucia won't take her meds. Is it schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, a combination ? I have had no real experience dealing with mental illness with anyone close to me so it's hard for me to tell how realistic the portrayal is but it definitely felt real and it was heartbreaking. There's so much to this story. The sisters' past with their mother who has lost her husband and emigrates from China to the US with Miranda and pregnant with Lucia. Lucia's move to Ecuador with Manny and their daughter, her continuing struggle. Throughout I couldn't help but want things to be better for Lucia and was pulled towards the end in hopes of that it would be. It's about how debilitating mental illness can be, about family bonds that can't be broken. A haunting tale, with characters you care about. I have to give 5 stars to this well written debut novel. I received an advanced copy of this book from Dorman Books through Edelweiss.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Mental illness and the huge toll it takes on family, friends and the sufferers themselves. We meet two sisters, Jie, the responsible one, the protector and Lucia, creative, whimsical, impetuous. Two very different women, trying to have stable lives, but find many impediments in their paths. Stable lives built on an unstable foundation. We hear many different viewpoints, from different people, see and feel many different sides as those close try to help Lucia, keep her stable, taking her meds 4.5 Mental illness and the huge toll it takes on family, friends and the sufferers themselves. We meet two sisters, Jie, the responsible one, the protector and Lucia, creative, whimsical, impetuous. Two very different women, trying to have stable lives, but find many impediments in their paths. Stable lives built on an unstable foundation. We hear many different viewpoints, from different people, see and feel many different sides as those close try to help Lucia, keep her stable, taking her meds.How this drains them, often not knowing what to do, nor how to help or even cope.It is Lucia's story, her thoughts that bring the reader into her very being, her inner core. She tries so hard, wants only good things for those she loves, which eventually includes a young daughter. She is at times so much fun, imaginative, a hard worker, but sometimes she doesnt know what is real, what is not. She is in and out of different facilities, diagnosed with different mentasl illnesses, given medications, some with horrible sdide effects. We see the toll this takes on all.It is also as novel about the alienation, the fear people feel when they don't know how to fix things. The strain and stress of always watching, waiting. The different health care facilities in other countries, or lack thereof. This is a very emotional read, and the ending is as well. I became so invested in these characters, their lives, felt their struggle, their desperation at times. This is a very character driven read, and one in which I became emotionally involved. Beautifully written and extremely well done.ARC from Edelweiss.
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  • Dorie
    January 1, 1970
    Every so often I come across a book that is so wonderful, so eye opening and so well written that I want to stand on a corner and press this book into everyone’s hands. This is one of them.With a thumbs up from Celeste Ng, one of my favorite authors and some favorable reviews from my goodreads friends, I was anxious to get into this novel which publishes at the beginning of January 2018. I was not prepared for the power of this story, the incredible bond between two sisters, their ability to lov Every so often I come across a book that is so wonderful, so eye opening and so well written that I want to stand on a corner and press this book into everyone’s hands. This is one of them.With a thumbs up from Celeste Ng, one of my favorite authors and some favorable reviews from my goodreads friends, I was anxious to get into this novel which publishes at the beginning of January 2018. I was not prepared for the power of this story, the incredible bond between two sisters, their ability to love each other but know when to let go and when to hold on.Lucia and Miranda were born in New Jersey, the daughters of a Chinese American who came to this country after her husband died to begin anew. She studied accounting and raised her two daughters. Miranda is the oldest at 11 and Lucia only four. Not much time is spent on their childhood but it was a good one and the girls prospered, did well in school and attended University. It isn’t until Lucia is in her twenties that she experiences her first full blown mental breakdown. She had been living with a much older man who loved her dearly but didn’t understand her mental illness. The diagnoses were mixed, schizophrenia, bipolar, or a combination of both. As so many people with mental illness she doesn’t like how she is when she is on medications. They make her feel dull, sleepy, not herself at all. Throughout the book Lucia wrestles with the voices in her head, she calls them “the serpents”. In Lucia’s words after her first inpatient hospital stay states “Later, I would be told I had a 20% chance of maintaining a full-time job, a 25% chance of living independently, a 40% chance of attempting suicide, a 10% chance of succeeding”. She was only 26 years old, this isn’t reassuring news for any of them. Still she loves to write, she writes about the people in their neighborhood, their immigrant stories. She longs for a job at a newspaper but whenever her mental illness is discovered she never lands that dream job.There are stories within stories. Lucia finding love but then abandoning it in search of a father for a baby that she desperately wants. She finds a form of love in Manny, an immigrant from Ecuador, and they return there for several years and raise the baby, Esperanza, in that bright and sunny place. They are poor in material things but compensated with the love of an extended family and a place where they all feel free for a long while, until Lucia once again is drawn down into her dark place with the voices and serpents she continually fights.Miranda, the ever watchful sister, never abandons Lucia. She finds her own love with Stephen and they move to Switzerland. For many years she monitors Lucia from afar. She loves her life in Switzerland, the peaceful community where they live, her husband is a urologist and she is involved in the community and chairing fund raising events at the hospital. Her husband loves her and never holds her back even when she travels to Ecuador to try and help Miranda but he also stated “you can’t help her, you have tried, you’ve been trying all these years. What about your life Miranda?”.I loved the Epilogue in this book which I won’t disclose, it’s beautiful, hopeful and strong. Buy this book, read it and maybe we can all understand a little bit more of what it must be like to live with a mental illness. The story is also told from multiple POV’s, including Lucia when she is “normal” and when she is having a “breakdown”, Miranda, Manny and Yonah,and these points of view strongly enhance the story. I also have to state that I am in awe of this author, that this is a debut novel is so impressive!I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss, thank you.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    At first, I thought this was going to be an immigrant novel, and it kind of is, but that's more of a background element. Lucy/Lucia moves with her single Chinese pregnant mother to the United States as a young girl. But the story quickly jumps to her adolescence and her first mental disorders surfacing and requiring hospitalization. Her sister tries to help, and the sister relationship is a thread throughout the novel. What if your sister was the only person who knew your medical secrets but liv At first, I thought this was going to be an immigrant novel, and it kind of is, but that's more of a background element. Lucy/Lucia moves with her single Chinese pregnant mother to the United States as a young girl. But the story quickly jumps to her adolescence and her first mental disorders surfacing and requiring hospitalization. Her sister tries to help, and the sister relationship is a thread throughout the novel. What if your sister was the only person who knew your medical secrets but lives far away with her own life?I feel like the author did an interesting thing here. The point of view changes so sometimes the pov is from Lucia, sometimes when she is lucid, but also when she isn't. And the moments that really stuck out to me were those where I was seeing the world from her perspective and her decisions seemed valid, and then it switches to an outsider and you realize that she is acting paranoid, delusional, potentially harmful to her child. It was quite the reminder that for a person suffering from mental illness, it's not that easy for them to see what others see, or to fully understand they need help or medication. I thought it was very effective.Lucy's second husband is Manny, an undocumented Ecuadorian, and along the way I realized that there are no white people in this novel, pretty awesome. Lucy had spent time in Latin America and at one point they move back there with their child, and I thought that was an unfairly challenging environment for her mental health but adds another interesting twist to the story.Thanks to the publisher for approving my request in NetGalley. This book comes out January 16th, 2018.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I have many thoughts.Review to come.
  • Wit & Wonder Books
    January 1, 1970
    ** ARC provided by the author for an honest review **Family. What does it mean? And how much are you willing to sacrifice for them? Mira T. Lee’s amazing debut Everything Here is Beautiful is an emotional story about family bonds and mental health.Miranda and Lucia are sisters who both suffer from one’s mental instability. Miranda protects Lucia time and again, constantly rescuing her from herself. Lucia flies high and then crashes hard, leaving Miranda to pick up the pieces. Miranda is growing ** ARC provided by the author for an honest review **Family. What does it mean? And how much are you willing to sacrifice for them? Mira T. Lee’s amazing debut Everything Here is Beautiful is an emotional story about family bonds and mental health.Miranda and Lucia are sisters who both suffer from one’s mental instability. Miranda protects Lucia time and again, constantly rescuing her from herself. Lucia flies high and then crashes hard, leaving Miranda to pick up the pieces. Miranda is growing tired of trying to save her sister from herself, she has a choice to make, but Lucia just might make it for her.I am a big advocator for mental health awareness, so when a book comes along that centers on the subject I hurry to grab it up. The one thing that I really loved about this book is that it doesn’t just show the dangers, the pain and suffering of the individual, but also the cruel way it affects those closest to them. Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder changes the way of life for all involved.A fantastic and heart wrenching debut. A raw and unapologetic look at the way mental illness tears apart lives. The dual POV of both sisters shows you the hurt that is happening on both sides. One directly from the illness and the other indirectly. I believe that this a novel that once read will help in the understanding of just how important mental health is.But this isn’t just about mental health, its also about family. Miranda goes to great lengths to protect and keep Lucia safe, even to the detriment of herself. It isn’t good to be constantly putting someone above yourself, but how can you justify not helping when you can. So many difficult choices and hard situations arise in the telling of this story and none should be taken lightly by the reader. And sometimes the right choice is hard to figure out, but which ‘right’ choice is truly right? Miranda needs to care for herself, but Lucia needs someone to look out for her when she can’t do it herself. Both seem like the right choice, but no matter which she chooses someone will suffer.I highly recommend this book to everyone. I believe we should all be aware of the painful and heartbreaking intricacies of mental illness. FIVE stars.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Everything Here is Beautiful is a quiet and thoughtful book about mental illness and the toll it takes on the relationship between two Chinese-American sisters. Miranda is the older, responsible one, who's spent her life looking after her younger sister, Lucia, impetuous and free-spirited. Throughout her adult life, Lucia grapples with an undefined mental illness (doctors are unable to determine if it's schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or something in between), and Miranda struggles with the gui Everything Here is Beautiful is a quiet and thoughtful book about mental illness and the toll it takes on the relationship between two Chinese-American sisters. Miranda is the older, responsible one, who's spent her life looking after her younger sister, Lucia, impetuous and free-spirited. Throughout her adult life, Lucia grapples with an undefined mental illness (doctors are unable to determine if it's schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or something in between), and Miranda struggles with the guilt of never being able to help her sister quite enough.What's particularly striking about this book is how Mira T. Lee balances an array of perspectives, which serves to challenge the reader's perception on a single issue. We flit back and forth between Miranda, Lucia, Manuel (Lucia's young Ecuadorian lover), and Yonah (Lucia's husband), and we stay in each of their heads long enough that they genuinely feel like real people, each with their own strengths and biases and shortcomings. We hear from Lucia both when she's lucid and when she's wrestling with what she refers to as the 'serpents' in her mind, which provides us with a hard-hitting and candid exploration of how 'real' Lucia's paranoia and delusions feel to her. Lee also highlights the sad truth that there are often no easy answers when it comes to addressing severe mental illness - at different times in her life Lucia tries medication and hospitalization, and while I'm happy to say that this is not a narrative that maligns medication in any way (it's ultimately a rather pro-meds message), the reality of medicating doesn't provide Lucia with a simple solution, which is often the case. It's an important narrative that I think will resonate with anyone who's grappled with mental illness at some point, and I'm hoping that books like this and Chemistry will succeed in starting some conversations about the stigma surrounding mental health in our society.But back to the narrative - I do have a few complaints. (1) It was too long by about a hundred pages. The plot stalled at about a third of the way through, and though the pace eventually rectified itself, there was still a lot of filler. I was initially sure I was going to breeze through this book, but for a while there in the middle picking it up was kind of a drag. (2) I'm not a fan of first and third person being used together in novels. I've seen it done well (e.g., Burial Rites by Hannah Kent) but for the most part it doesn't work for me. Here it felt arbitrary and stylistic. The effect Lee created with the multiple POVs could have been easily achieved with exclusively either first or third person. (3) The timeline was occasionally unclear - there would be big time jumps between two chapters with hardly any indication. But all that said, I mostly really loved this. Everything Here is Beautiful is a powerful and moving novel. Mira T. Lee comes out of the gate strong with this debut, taking on issues of mental health, immigration, familial duty, motherhood, and national and cultural identity. I'd highly recommend this to fans of Celeste Ng, Min Jin Lee, and/or Weike Wang.Thank you to First to Read and Mira T. Lee for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Everything Here is Beautiful will be published on January 16, 2018.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. What an incredibly emotional and brave debut about family, mental illness, and the many sides to a story. The timeline was a bit fuzzy at some points, but the prose and characters were complex and beautiful. I feel like this one will stick with me for some time.
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  • Amanda Stauffer
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to win an ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I cannot praise Lee's powerful debut highly enough. Narrated by the distinct and unique voices of several main characters, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL offers poignant and complex exploration of the ties that bind; of selfishness vs. selflessness; of familial, romantic, and friendly love, and the choices we make (or don't make) for ourselves and our families. With concise and exceptionally evocative sentences -- recurring allusio I was lucky enough to win an ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I cannot praise Lee's powerful debut highly enough. Narrated by the distinct and unique voices of several main characters, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL offers poignant and complex exploration of the ties that bind; of selfishness vs. selflessness; of familial, romantic, and friendly love, and the choices we make (or don't make) for ourselves and our families. With concise and exceptionally evocative sentences -- recurring allusions to animal likenesses delivered in one or two words instantly conjur the person described, while also illustrating how the sisters or couples relate to each other -- Lee leaves her readers with much to reflect on, and I expect certain themes will stay with me long after having read this.This is easily one of the best books I've read this year, and it surely deserves a literary prize. I look forward to reading everything Lee writes in the future.
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  • Celeste Ng
    January 1, 1970
    EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL is a tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters--one that's frayed by mental illness and stretched across continents, yet still endures. With ventriloquistic skill, Mira T. Lee explores the heartache of loving someone deeply troubled and the unbearable tightrope-walk between holding on and letting go.
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