Everything Is Fine

Atria. Apr. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982133443. $27. MEMOIR
Borrowing its title from the subtle lie that his family used to tell themselves in texts and emails (“everything is fine”), Granata’s poignant debut delves into loss and pain and living in the aftermath of tragedy. Beginning with the trauma of discovering that Granata’s younger brother, Tim, had killed their mother in their childhood home, the author moves back in time to gracefully detail his mother’s life as well as Tim’s history of depression and suicidal ideation and its lasting effect on the entire family, including his father and two other siblings. Tim ultimately received a diagnosis of schizophrenia in his early 20s. Particularly moving sections of the book depict the family’s loss of anonymity when the crime makes headline news, and Granata’s visits to Tim in a psychiatric hospital in an attempt to reconnect with the brother he once knew. The author’s delicate writing succeeds in painting a full portrait of Tim and shedding insight on the ongoing stigma of mental illness.
VERDICT Granata’s skills, as a writer and former English teacher, shine here; he not only brings a personal perspective to living alongside a family member with mental illness, but also shows that there isn’t a right way to grieve. A welcome memoir.
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