Tag Archives: everything here is beautiful

Giveaway: EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL by Mira T. Lee

First, thanks for the great response to the 2019 EDIWTB Reading Challenge! I am excited that so many of you will be joining me to read 12 books in 2019 across the categories on the list. If you would like to join, please search for the 2019 Everyday I Write The Book Reading Challenge group on Facebook or email me – gweiswasser@gmail.com – so that I can add you. We have a Google doc going where people can add their name and book selections over the course of the year.

I am currently reading a memoir – From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey Stein – which counts as one of my books for the challenge. See? This is easy.

Second, exciting news: Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee is coming out in paperback next week, and Penguin has given me three copies to give away. I read and reviewed it last year, and it’s definitely a book that has stayed with me over the months. I recommend Everything Here Is Beautiful on print over audio, so here is a great chance to get your hands on the book if you don’t have it already. It’s about two sisters and how mental illness strains their relationship over the years. Thank you to Penguin for providing the books for the giveaway.

To enter to win, leave me a comment here and I’ll pick three winners on Friday, January 18. Good luck!

EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL by Mira T. Lee

I almost gave up on Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee about 60 pages in. I didn’t, and I am glad.

Everything Here Is Beautiful is about two Chinese-American sisters, Lucia and Miranda, who were very close growing up. As a young adult, Lucia – the younger of the two – experiences her first schizophrenic episode, and although she eventually gets better, the spectre of her hospitalization and the disease’s looming presence forever change the sisters’ relationship. Miranda is Lucia’s protector, always worrying about her and ensuring that she is stable, while Lucia braces against Miranda’s watchful eye and everpresent concern.

When Everything Here Is Beautiful opens, Lucia has impulsively married an older man, and Miranda is trying to keep up and accept it. For many months, things go well, but when Lucia’s illness resurfaces and her new husband is at a loss for what to do, Miranda steps back in to have Lucia hospitalized again. From there, Lucia’s life takes a number of turns that lead her from New York to Ecuador and back, while Miranda marries and moves to Switzerland. Their relationship, while strained and often dormant, remains an important guiding force for each of them, especially during the times when Lucia’s illness re-emerges.

Everything Here Is Beautiful is a sad book. The epicenter of the pain – Lucia’s schizophrenia – causes ripple effects for her sister, her husband and her daughter. They all live in fear of her next episode, and the illness binds them all together as an involuntary support team for Lucia, who is not always receptive to their intervention. Mental illness is never cured; it’s just a question of which stage of the disease the afflicted is in – recovery, dormancy or decline.

So why did I almost give up on it? It got off to a slow start, and I did it on audio at first, which didn’t work for me at all. There are three narrators – Miranda, Lucia and Lucia’s husband Manny. The narration of Miranda was OK, but Lucia’s voice was chirpy, upbeat and girly, which I didn’t find to match the character at all. Manny, too, came across as unemotional and rehearsed. It wasn’t until I switched to print that I could actually focus on the book and get into the story.

In the end, I didn’t love Everything Here Is Beautiful as much as most people seem to have, but I came to appreciate it. And I think this book will have staying power.