Throwback Thursday is a fun meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk as a way to share reviews of books that are old favorites, as well as books that have finally been read after languishing for a while.
For Throwback Thursday this week, I want to feature another of my favorites from 2018 thus far. Everything Here is Beautiful is one of the most perfectly executed books I’ve ever read. For me, the reason was the authenticity of the emotion and relationships throughout.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 of a mental illness and thereafter. What ensued is a true-to-life account of a sister who tried to advocate, save, support her sister, while also trying to find the balance and living her own life. When Miranda wasn’t there, it was Yonah (oh, what a loveable character!), Lucia’s first husband. And when not him, it was Manny (equally loveable in different ways), her second husband and the father to her child. Each person had his/her own way of helping Lucia, and the manner in which the story was told added layer upon layer of perspective from each voice. A side benefit to book was culture- Chinese culture, Israeli culture, Ecuadorian culture, and the culture of mental health.
All of that led to empathy. My biggest hope is that this book will help in gaining insight into the area of mental health (we all have mental health! 😊), perspective-taking, and through that, empathy. It would be typical and easy to feel sad for Lucia and her family members. Anyone would. They went through so much trying to live life while taking care of her. But what’s more important, and most definitely harder, is to move past the sympathy and sadness, which disconnects you from the pain of others, and feel connected to others through empathy- by walking in Lucia’s/Miranda’s/Yonah’s/Manny’s/Essy’s shoes. Through empathy there comes true acceptance, and I think that’s what many facing difficulties with mental health want more than anything.
I’m passionate about mental health, and I’m so grateful that this book was written with truth, heart, and complete realism, even though I will always wish/hope for better outcomes.
Everything Here is Beautiful is what my huggable bookshelf is all about.
This was a Traveling Sister group read that I joined in late, once everyone else had finished. My sisters are awesome and came back to the thread to discuss with me throughout. I think it shows how much we all cared about this book and its characters. 💕
Thank you to Mira T. Lee, Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin, and Edelweiss for the complimentary copy of this deeply moving book.
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.
Determined, 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?
Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it’s time to let go and save ourselves.