Granata bravely and lovingly chronicles his family’s story—before, during and after the tragedy—in his riveting memoir ... Granata writes with compassion, reflection and unsparing honesty of not only his brother’s metamorphosis but also his own transformation after the crime—how he was finally able to find his way back to his life, memories and love of his brother. Some of the book’s most memorable scenes take place during his visits with Tim in Connecticut’s Whiting Forensic Hospital, where Tim was sent to be 'restored to competency' so that he could eventually be tried for his crime ... Anyone trying to better understand the cruel grip of psychosis will learn much from Everything Is Fine.
The succinct and haunting title of Vince Granata’s imperfect memoir of how his brother Tim, suffering from schizophrenia, bound their mother’s wrists with duct tape one July afternoon in 2014 and killed her in the family room of their house in Orange, Conn., using two serrated knives and two sledgehammers ... The family’s love and mortification are evident between the lines of this book, but remain insufficiently explored. By the time of the killing Tim had withdrawn from college. Their mother, Claudia, collected books about coping with schizophrenia, and hid them under her bed ... Unfortunately, this memoir hews to the family myth even as it seeks to expose it. In therapy, after the fact, Granata comes to realize that he is “a people pleaser,” and this is the problem. The author can’t bring himself to subject his family to the dissection that the story requires; despite his decision to write about them, his impulse is still to protect them ... His father and brother Chris are largely absent from its pages, their silence implying, perhaps, their disapproval. His sister, Lizzie, is present, but her portrayal is qualified: Her brother dares not speak for her. And yet, this is what memoirists do. They push and probe, complicate answers, reinfect old wounds. They presume to know what others are thinking and feeling, and then turn the interrogation lamp on their most intimate, protected places ... Telling this story is an act of bravery, but Granata needed to linger more in the painful places; he reaches for his love for his brother, but he also needed to hold his mother’s heart in his hands. 'There are ways my mother failed,' he writes, and then, conceding how difficult this admission is for him, runs from the sentence as if it were a grenade.
In stunningly raw and vivid prose, Vince Granata examines the tragedy that ripped his family apart ... Writing about mental illness, grief and the systems that prevent real care for those who suffer, Granata covers the full spectrum of human emotion --- from anger to shame, forgiveness to hope, and everything in between ... Granata is an expert curator of memories. Despite the horror that we know is coming for his family, he is able to relay warm, happy memories from his youth to introduce readers to Tim ... Writing from a brother’s perspective, Granata painstakingly details how difficult this hardwired denial is to combat. Even more eloquently, he describes his --- and his family’s --- comprehension of the early symptoms of Tim’s illness as delusions themselves ... Writing about the day of his mother’s murder, Granata is clear-eyed, almost too graphic... I won’t share the details of that day here, but what happens after is one of the most powerful, transformative bits of writing I have ever had the honor of reading ... an immediately gripping book, not least for its ripped-from-the-headlines topic. But this is no shock-value memoir by someone looking to trauma dump their story into the lives of others with no follow-up. Granata is an eerily prescient writer who is able to look at the big picture of even the smallest, most tender and intimate moments. What is so impressive about this book is not the shock and horror of what happened to Tim or what he did to his mother, but the ways that Granata is able to weave a tapestry of loss into something that perfectly demonstrates the ways that we have failed our mentally ill neighbors and the families who love them ... Haunting, poignant and eye-opening, Everything is Fine is a testament not only to a brother’s love, but to a family’s ability to heal. Vince Granata is a cadenced, courageous writer you won’t soon forget.