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 By the time of the killing Tim had withdrawn from college.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.
Granata’s poignant debut delves into loss and pain and living in the aftermath of tragedy ... 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 ... 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.