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Everything Here Is Beautiful

by Mira T. Lee

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4202743,469 (3.92)22
"A tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters."--Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You. A dazzling novel of two sisters and their emotional journey through love, loyalty, and heartbreak. Two 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 their mother dies and Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. But Lucia impetuously plows ahead, marrying a bighearted, older man only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She moves her new family from the States to Ecuador and back again, 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? Told in alternating points of view, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its heart, the story of 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"--… (more)
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Excellent story of sisterhood, immigration/migration and mental illness. Miranda and Lucia are of Chinese descent - their mother came to America when Miranda was a child and Lucia was in utero. There are glimpses of their childhood here, mostly with Miranda as mother figure while their single mother worked her way up America’s ladder of success. The majority of the book takes place in their adulthood as Lucia struggles with potential bi-polar issues and other undiagnosed mental illnesses and Miranda stands by helplessly. Always fearless, Lucy spent her twenties traveling and writing. Now she is searching for stability to fill a void in her life (also part of her illness) and settles on marriage to a Russian Jew, Yonah. He has a zest for life having immigrated from Israel and experienced the alternative. This fits with some of Lucia’s manic episodes and all is well until she wants a child. She becomes involved with Manny, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador and together they have a child, Esperanza. This triggers a severe depressive incident and all involved struggle to cope. “...if pain and tears were correlated, surely we would’ve all drowned by now” (151), she observes later in more rational moments. Lucy’s solutions are never true solutions - moving to Ecuador becomes her next course of action with predictable results. Meanwhile Miranda struggles with the rightness of living her own life in Switzerland, finding happiness for herself and setting limits with her sister. This book does a great job of showing both the inside of the illness from Lucy’s view and the outside from the others in her life. Memorable characters and an uplifting ending that finds the bright side of a horrible situation. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Narrators are Cassandra Campbell, Emily Woo Zeller, Ozzie Rodriguez, Kim Mai Guest, and Paul Boehmer.
3 stars. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
a dnf for me. I stopped at p. 128, after I realized I had no attachment to the story or its characters, and that I didn't care what happened next. Now I'm cranky. I need to dive into a book that has more visceral appeal. But first I am going to walk to the little lending library around the corner from my house and deposit this book inside, because I'm sure someone else is going to love it.
  poingu | Feb 22, 2020 |
If you want to cleanse your... brain? palate? brain-palate? of the hellstorm that was 2017, this book is an excellent way to kick off the new year.

Everything Here Is Beautiful is the story of two sisters, Miranda and Lucia. Since childhood, Miranda has been the careful and responsible big sister, Jie, while Lucia has been the cheerful and impulsive little sister, Mei. But Lucia occasionally has episodes where she has violent mood swings, hears voices, and becomes increasingly paranoid. Miranda, frightened at what could happen to her baby sister - and, perhaps, what her baby sister could do to others - stresses the importance of medication. Lucia, however, stubbornly refuses to let her mental illness affect her life. But as she makes a series of sudden decisions - a marriage to an older man, a baby with an illegal immigrant, a family move to Ecuador - the question of what is due to her personality and what is due to her illness arises. Her bond with her sister also begins to fray as Miranda wearies of coming to the rescue and she becomes resentful of Jie's interference. You will race to the end to discover what happens.

A deeply compassionate story told engagingly from multiple perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, simply, beautiful. If you enjoyed [b:Little Fires Everywhere|34273236|Little Fires Everywhere|Celeste Ng|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490351351s/34273236.jpg|52959357] or [b:Stay with Me|32969150|Stay with Me|Ayobami Adebayo|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1481563711s/32969150.jpg|52027766], I highly recommend you pick up this book.

(I forgot to thank Penguin Random House/First Reads for allowing me access to a digital galley! I really hope this book does well!) ( )
  doryfish | Jul 31, 2019 |
Lucia has a mental illness. Her story was intriguing. The author helped the reader understand her personality and her relationships with her family and friends. The story from her sister's perspective fell flat. Honesty, the other characters weren't as well developed. The only other character I cared about was Yonah. The story is centered around Lucia, so overall, very enjoyable. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Jun 28, 2019 |
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Empathy: because the commonality among human beings is emotion, and the only way we can bridge our vast discrepancies in experience is through what we feel. Let us be humbled in the knowledge that one may never fully understand the interior lives of others--but let us continue to care.
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A summer day in New Jersey.
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There's a word for this in Portuguese: saudade. It's not exactly nostalgia, there's more of a longing in it, for a feeling or way of life that may be impossible to recapture--that may or may not have even existed in the first place. "An indolent dreaming wistfulness" is how I've seen one writer describe it. Now that's a great word.
In the density of the city, she feels alone. In the open space of the campo, she feels constricted, the eyes of the family ever upon her.
There is a word for this, a beautiful word that unfurls from the tongue: velleity. The weakest form of volition. A mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.
But now, like this, I think love is just romantic way of explaining selflessness.
This was a brief encounter, tender, yet strained. They would part knowing what they'd always known: that they had each loved Lucia. And this was enough, for now, neither was ready for more. In grief, the future seems impossible.
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"A tender but unflinching portrayal of the bond between two sisters."--Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You. A dazzling novel of two sisters and their emotional journey through love, loyalty, and heartbreak. Two 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 their mother dies and Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. But Lucia impetuously plows ahead, marrying a bighearted, older man only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She moves her new family from the States to Ecuador and back again, 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? Told in alternating points of view, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its heart, the story of 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"--

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