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Everything Here Is Beautiful

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  9,435 ratings  ·  1,380 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books
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Rand Renfrow She not only switches the personal chapters from first to third person, but she bounces around before that as well. Starting on page 90, about 1/4 of…moreShe not only switches the personal chapters from first to third person, but she bounces around before that as well. Starting on page 90, about 1/4 of the way in, Chapter 3, titled 'Crote Six,' is in third person omniscient, right before we have Lucia's first person chapter. Honestly, the only purpose I see to these switches is purely for arbitrary, literary flourishes, to simply add a change of pace to an otherwise dreary story. Take my answer with a grain of salt though, I'm apparently in the minority that didn't find this book to be all that amazing, and it is partly because of arbitrary stylistic decisions like this. (less)

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3.94  · 
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 ·  9,435 ratings  ·  1,380 reviews


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Emily May
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, mma-2018, 2018
And then, her worst fear: that the line between her sister and her illness was becoming irrevocably blurred.

Lately, I'm really enjoying these quieter family drama books with strong writing, unforgettable characters, and a deep emotional pull. Perhaps I'm a little burned out on tropes and action but, whatever the reason, Everything Here Is Beautiful worked its way into my heart and kept me hooked on the characters' lives until the very last page.

At its heart, this novel looks at living with a c
...more
Crumb
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-illness
This novel was an intense meditation on how mental illness can affect not only the person suffering, but everyone around them. It was about one woman’s descent into madness and a sister who stood by and fought to protect her with every fragment of her being. Although this book was about mental illness, schizophrenia to be precise, it was about so much more than that. It was about love,family, and tenacity. It was also about the bond between two sisters. Finally, it was about perseverance when it ...more
Jen
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are moments of beauty for everyone when one clears away the fog; the clutter. In nature, in joy. We all experience it- Young and old; heathy; sick. The optimist and sometimes even the pessimist. And for those who suffer from mental illness- The highs; the lows. The instability of the disease and the stability of relationships.

But there is a whole lot going on in this story that is not beautiful, but instead very sad and heartbreaking.
This is a story of 2 sisters. The younger one who suffe
...more
Elyse Walters
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook.....with fantastic narrators: Cassandra Campbell, Emily Woo Zeller, and others.

ISRAELI’S DON’T ICE FISH!......
.....Hello? They live in the desert- ice fishing in Michigan is crazy-thinking to a grumpy Israeli-immigrant. A few times I laughed - laughed hard - as I felt I understood Yonah, ( a character from Israel)...who had no interest in ICE FISHING....
Yonah was just one of the complex characters we come to know.

But - most of the time - I wasn’t laughing. This is a heart-wrenching -
...more
Angela M
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing

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
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 Deeply moving, honest stars to Everything Here Is Beautiful!

May all books about mental health challenges be this honest, this realistic.

From the start, I was enthralled with Miranda and Lucia’s characters. These sisters had an interesting beginning in the United States after moving with their single mother from China. Family stories are always my favorite, and this one delivered “family” on every level. The story follows Miranda and Lucia throughout their lives, including Lucia’s development
...more
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lucia is a schizophrenic and Miranda tries everything she can to help her sister. She did the best she could. The author shows how each person close to Lucia is touched by this mental illness. This book is so heartbreaking.
I am not sure who struggles the most, the family or the one with the mental illness. I don't think anyone knew the severity of Lucia's illness but her sister did. Lucia seemed to need people on her side to tell her its O.K not to take her medication and be hospitalized, when
...more
Diane S ☔
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Karen
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars for this heartbreaking story of a young woman named Lucia with mental illness, who struggles with the “serpents” inside her. A story of how this mental illness impacts her relationships with her very close older sister, and then later her husband, lover, and child. We are taken to many locations in this book as Lucia changes her life course.. from New York, to Ecuador, to Minnesota. Also covered in this story are immigration, and Mental Health Care.
This was, surprisingly, a debut novel!
...more
Larry H
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up.

I'm not crying, you're crying.

"But it was impossible to know the truth of another's interior life. Wasn't it?"

Miranda has always looked after her younger sister, Lucia. When Miranda and her mother first emigrated to America from China, her mother was pregnant with Lucia, and Miranda considered it her responsibility to protect the baby, even before it was born. And so it went throughout their childhood, as their mother strove to provide them a better life. Miranda was the se
...more
Julie
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee is a 2018 Pamela Dorman Books publication.

Both breathtaking and heartbreaking-

This is a novel about the bonds of sisterhood, of familial duty, of love, all tested by the drain and strain of debilitating mental illness.

While the story is exquisitely painful and is not a book I’d recommend for someone feeling depressed or who may be in a bad place, it is also a beautifully written story, very powerful, and realistic, yet poignantly sensitive, without b
...more
jessica
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
my family is the most important thing to me in my life. and based on the last couple of books ive read, its pretty apparent that i have been going through a little familial fiction phase. it is such a unique experience to read about different family dynamics, some that couldnt be more different than my own, but still feel such an emotional pull.

what i appreciate most about this particular story is the unbreakable bond between two sisters. i dont have a sister, but i could feel the depth of mira
...more
Hannah
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction
This book broke my heart. In a million pieces.

At its heart, this novel is about the bond between two sisters (I love that!): Miranda, the older, more responsible one, and Lucia, the younger one who everybody loves. After their mother’s death, Lucia starts to hear voices and spinning out of control, leaving her husband Yonah to have a child with a younger man, Manuel/ Manny, being in and out of hospital, seemingly to get better to then just spiral out of control again. Mira T. Lee tells a complex
...more
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
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
...more
Theresa Alan
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me a little while to get into this novel about two sisters over many years, but once I got into the unique, dazzling style of storytelling, I was gripped. The older Miranda always looked out for her younger sister Lucia. Initially, they are close, but after Lucia’s first breakdown, tensions begin. If Lucia goes off her medication, she might have another break, and she resents Miranda’s, to her mind, patronizing way of trying to force her to take medication that makes her drowsy and cloud ...more
Susanne  Strong
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars.

What do you do when everything starts falling apart around you? When you hear and see things that no one else does? When no one else makes any sense and no one listens or understands you? Lucia, one of the characters in “Everything Here is Beautiful,” struggles with exactly that. Miranda, her sister, Yonah, her husband, and later, Manny, her boyfriend and their daughter Essy, struggle with how to care for and love her, during all of her ups and downs. It is extremely difficult to endure
...more
JanB
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story of two sisters, Miranda and Lucia, who immigrated with their mother from China to the U.S. Miranda was very young, and their mother was pregnant with Lucia. The girls have a close relationship as they grow up, but Lucia begins to exhibit troubling symptoms of mental illness as a young adult. The story spans decades and several continents, and we follow the sisters throughout their lives, as they deal with marriage, motherhood, jobs, moves to other countries, and, of c ...more
Carol (Bookaria)
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, fiction
This is a novel about mental illness and how it affects the people close to the person suffering from it. It is also a story about love, sisterhood, and perseverance.

Miranda and Lucia are sisters. They grew up in the States and are the daughters of a Chinese immigrant. Miranda has always felt responsible for her younger sister Lucia, not only because she's the oldest one but also because since she was a young adult Lucia has suffered from a mental illness in the form of schizophrenia.

The book
...more
Marialyce
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 sad but so very relevant stars

This was a tragic, sad novel about the closeness of family, the ravages of mental illness, and the way families of those affected deal with this illness.

How do we treat, how do we react, how do we try our best to keep family together to provide the best care, the best place, the best life we can have to the people affected by mental disorders.

For Lucia Bok, life is full of dreams, of aspirations, of freedom. She is a free spirit wanting to travel, to go forward fi
...more
Victoria
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tumultuous and heartbreaking story about those who experience life at a heightened level and those of us who care for them while striving to understand.

Days after finishing this book I have yet to find adequate words to explain just how moving, painful and real this story feels. How do I capture the enigma that is Lucia Bok, the larger than life and impetuous woman that is the novel’s center point? Or Miranda, the conscientious older sister, torn between family loyalty and the desire to live h
...more
Phrynne
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
Firstly I want to say that I listened to this on audio. I think this often affects my opinion because a bad narrator can ruin the best of books. In this particular case the story was told in several character's POVs so the narration was done by a team of readers, different for each character. It worked well.

The story takes place in America, in Ecuador and in Switzerland with beautiful descriptions of each. There is a huge amount of information worked into the book about the landscape and the cus
...more
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
Has your life, or the life of a loved one or friend ever been touched by mental illness?
This is the story of Lucia and her debilitating battle living with mental illness. Difficult, poignant, heartbreaking....

I was actually getting quite unexpectedly attached to the characters in this novel. The diversity in cultures, ethnicity and backgrounds that played into this book were refreshing, real and down to Earth. An eye opener in some way, as I am not as familiar with the thematic of mental health
...more
Dem
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub-reads
3.5 Stars

Honest and Heartfelt, Everything Here Is Beautiful is a thoughtful exploration of mental illness. A beautifully and tender tale of ordinary lives and how mental illness impacts on a family and their on-going battle to provide care and understanding to a family member who may not always welcome their help.

This is the story of two Chinese-American sisters Miranda and Lucia, and their battle and struggles when Lucia develops a mental illness. When Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miran
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: group-challenge
4✚ ★
Mental illness is getting more press these days and it’s about time.
I am full of praise for Mira T. Lee’s debut novel which compassionately and respectfully details a fictional but very realistic alternate reality that many people have no choice in living. Multiple narrative viewpoints illuminate many sides of the suffering and devastation that follow in the wake of full blown mania, its treatment (or lack of) and consequences, as well as the love that comes under assault when the mind betr
...more
Cheri
”Our mother might’ve said this: that immigrants are the strongest, that we leave our homes behind and rebuild. Everywhere we go, we rebuild.”

This story covers a lot of territory, with themes of sisterhood / sibling love, loyalty, immigration, mental illness, motherhood, family, and love in the romantic sense. At its heart, this is Lucia’s story. Lucia marries Yonah, a Russian immigrant, which doesn’t last when she decides she wants a child, and he doesn’t. She meets Manuel, an immigrant from E
...more
*TUDOR^QUEEN*
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book clarifies the harsh realities of a people living with mental illness. The main character Lucia suffers from schizoaffective disorder and possible bipolar disease with psychotic features. If she doesn't take her pills, she becomes a very frightening person to live with; harmful both to herself and others. For such people, it is very important to avoid stressful environments and get proper sleep. Above all else, they must take their medication and have periodic appointments with a psych ...more
PattyMacDotComma
3.5★
“What if I were to tell you, right now, that you don’t live where you live? That your house isn’t your house. You’d probably laugh and tell me to stop messing around. But then imagine you went home, only to be arrested by the police. The nice people at your address didn’t want to press charges, so the police brought you to the ER, where a doctor insisted you take psychiatric drugs for your ‘delusion’ that you live where you ‘know’ you live. Would you listen? Would you take the meds? Right no
...more
Kelli
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everything here is beautiful: the story, the characters, the relationships, the struggles, the dreams, the losses, the love, and the honesty. This story’s honest treatment of mental illness (and its far-reaching impact) is a staggering accomplishment. This is a raw, real exploration of the extreme/overwhelming/haunting daily guilt that those of us who love a person afflicted with schizophrenia live with every day. It also presents the illness from the perspective of its victim, which is, frankly ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
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 ...more
Suzanne
Probably 3.5 rounded up. What amazing narration, the cast involved were an amazing combined production. The character of a mentally ill woman listening to the voices in her head, in the form of serpents, was particularly amazing - I was scared!

This was a heavy read, I seem to find it very hard to choose appropriate audio reads as I only like to listen to books that already exist on my list. I need to get through my list, not add more!

Two sisters, bound by love and necessity. The youngest, Lucia
...more
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Mira T. Lee's debut novel, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL, was recently named a Top 10 Debut of Winter/Spring 2018 by the American Booksellers Association. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as the Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Harvard Review, and TriQuarterly, and has twice received special mention for the Pushcart Prize. Mira is a graduate of Stanford Un ...more
“querencia. It refers to that place in the ring where a bull feels strongest, safest, where it returns again and again to renew its strength. It’s the place we’re most comfortable, where we know who we are—where we feel our most authentic selves.” 14 likes
“It fascinates her, to see a creature so busy in an act of creation.” 7 likes
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