Why should you read this book?
Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee, that came out last year, is a novel that essentially deals with mental illness.
The book centers around two Chinese-American sisters: Miranda who is responsible and protector and Lucia that is known to be wild and headstrong. One day, Lucia is diagnosed with a mental illness. The doctors aren’t sure if it’s a bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or something in between. This is a tale about the complexities of living with such an illness and how it affects the loved ones.
I really enjoyed that, besides dealing with mental illness, Everything Here Is Beautiful also explores immigration and multiculturalism. Not only the main characters are Chinese-American, as Lee also introduces characters from Latin America and Israel. Throughout the story, Miranda ends up moving to Switzerland and Lucia to Ecuador. So I really enjoyed that constant diversity! I also appreciated how the main theme – Lucia’s mental illness – was treated and developed in this book. I think it was an accurate portrayal.
However, some things in this book didn’t work that well in my opinion. This book is told in many different POVs. I think it could have been a great idea had it been executed properly. We would have learnt how each character felt towards the mental illness. But I just really cared about Lucia and Miranda’s POV because those felt like the strongest and most enriching ones. When the chapters were told by other characters, I felt like they wouldn’t add much to the story most times. It came to a point where I mostly cared about how it would end for Lucia and Miranda and the other characters felt really peripheral.
I’d like to thank Viking Books for sending a review copy. You can buy the book here.
Two Chinese-American sisters—Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the headstrong, unpredictable one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia impetuously plows ahead, but the bitter constant is that she is, in fact, mentally ill. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until, inevitably, she crashes to earth.
Miranda leaves her own self-contained life in Switzerland to rescue her sister again—but only Lucia can decide whether she wants to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans—but what does it take to break them?
Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its heart, an immigrant story, and a young woman’s quest to find fulfillment and a life unconstrained by her illness. But it’s also an unforgettable, gut-wrenching story of the sacrifices we make to truly love someone—and when loyalty to one’s self must prevail over all.
Publisher: Viking (Penguin Random House)
Published on: January 2018