Title: Everything Here Is Beautiful
Author: Mira T. Lee
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publish Date: January 16, 2018
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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.
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?"
My Two Cents:
"Everything Here is Beautiful" is the story of two sisters: Miranda and Lucia. Miranda has always been the older, more responsible one. Lucia has been the dreamer and the one that needed worrying about. When Lucia receives a diagnosis after a breakdown, Miranda is the one picking up the pieces. When Lucia has another breakdown, it is Miranda that swoops in to take care of her. Miranda finally realizes that she needs to do something for her own life but still watches over Lucia from a distance. This story is about the power of sisterhood and the difficulty of mental health issues for both those who have them and their families.
I really felt for both Miranda and Lucia. Miranda is hamstrung when trying to get Lucia help. She runs into the problem that so many families run into when trying to take care of adult family members with mental health issues. Because the patient is an adult, they can't be forced to do anything. Miranda grudgingly allows Manny, Lucia's boyfriend and the father of her baby, step in to try to keep Lucia safe after Lucia makes decisions that will take her to Manny's native Ecuador and further away from Miranda's safety net. Miranda is trying to balance her own life in Switzerland while still trying to take care of Lucia. She is pulled in so many different directions.
This book covers a lot of time in the lives of the sisters so you get to know them well. Lucia wants so badly to have a normal life. She wants to work even though that is frowned upon in Ecuador. She just wants to feel useful but feels that her diagnosis holds her back from having a truly normal life. She fights it at every turn! You're pulling for her even though you know that fate is so against her.
Even with the difficult topics that this book tackles, it is still a hopeful book in the end! It just isn't hopeful in the way that I thought it would be. I really enjoyed this one and know the characters will stick with me for a long time!