The story of two sisters, one who suffers from mental illness, the other who cares for her. It looks at issues such as mental illness, illegal immigration, death,  grief and guilt. Everything Here Is Beautiful By Mira T. Lee- #fiction, #reading, #books to read, #books

The Indigo Girl

By Natasha Boyd


Critical Praise:

“Lee’s debut novel is a profoundly relatable drama about how far you would, or should, go for family.” –Marie Claire

“Sisterly ties take on brilliant nuance in Mira T. Lee’s shattering debut about love, loss, psychosis, and what we owe ourselves and the family we love. . . beautifully written.” –The Boston Globe

“This exquisite book is one that will hurtle past all your expectations.” –Bustle

“Deftly dealing with big issues such as mental illness and immigration, this debut is a powerful look at love and family.” –PopSugar

“[A] gorgeous yet heartbreaking debut.” –Real Simple

“Lee’s prose is economical, sharp, and piercing. But the reason I enjoyed this smarting book is for its sixth sense in portraying the bond between two sisters who are nothing like one another, and how that disparity can transition into distance. . . Lee has managed to write a book that feels wholly alive.” –KQED
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*Discussion Questions



1. Many of the characters in the novel struggle to find balance between self-fulfillment and obligation to others. What would you have done if you were in Lucia’s situation in the campo? Have you ever had to choose between what you want for yourself and what’s best for someone you love (e.g., a child)?

2. Miranda has been caring for her younger sister since she was a child. But as an adult, what role should she play in her sister’s life? Did you find her actions caring or meddlesome?

3. Is Lucia a modern woman trying to balance family, career, and personal fulfillment or is she “rash, reckless, irresponsible”? To what lengths would you go/have gone to become a mother? Is it ever not okay for a woman to have a child?

4. Manny has to live with the brunt of Lucia’s illness. At one point he reflects: “This was love, or this was duty, he could no longer tell the difference.” What is the difference? When does love turn into duty and when does duty become love? Do you consider Manny loyal, or is he simply passive? Do Manny and Lucia love each other?

5. In the book, Lee writes, “immigrants are the strongest. . . . Everywhere we go, we rebuild.” All the characters in the novel are immigrants, rebuilding their lives in some way. But who is running away from something, and who is running toward something? How do their immigrant experiences differ?

6. How does ethnicity/culture play into this novel? Would you consider this an ethnic novel? Why or why not? Could the same story have been told if the characters were white?

7. Lucia points out that in our society, cancer survivors are viewed much differently from sufferers of mental illness. Do you agree? Do you know someone who has a mental illness? How does stigma affect our views of mental illness?

8. Anosognosia, or “lack of insight,” is a frequent symptom of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and makes these illnesses especially difficult to treat. How do you help someone who doesn’t realize they are ill? How did you feel about Manny putting pills in Lucia’s tea?

9. “He tried so hard to love her—yet how best to love her still eluded him.” The men in the book struggle with how best to love the women in their lives. Should Yonah have let Lucia walk out of their marriage so easily? Should Stefan have supported Miranda’s efforts to help her sister at the expense of her own well-being? Are there right or wrong ways to love someone?

10. Who is most to blame for Lucia’s end? Herself? Yonah? Miranda? Manny? Could someone have done something differently to alter the outcome? What do you think happened to Lucia?

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)


Book Summary
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.
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