A Little Life
Score: 5/5 Bookmarks
What can I say about A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara that hasn’t been said already, and more eloquently? This book isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s a devastating story about the life of a boy as he struggles his way through to adulthood, to find his place in the world, his people, his meaning.
With every new piece of information you’re given about his childhood you’ll think to yourself ‘my God, it can’t possibly get worse than this’. But then it will. Again, and again, and again.
But as you push through the horrible, the dreadful, the unbelievably inhuman and devastating pieces of his life, you’ll grow to love Jude. You’ll grow to love his friends, the people in his life, with such ferocity that you’ll keep pushing through, even when you think you are broken and can’t take any more. You’ll do it for Jude, to hear his story. And it will change you.
You’ll never be the same after A Little Life. And I’m not joking when I say you’ll want to stock up on comfort food and tissues before beginning. I also recommend you read it with a friend, or a group, like I did. A group of ladies on Instagram expressed interested in reading it but had all been too scared to start after seeing some of the reviews. So we did it together, and discussed it along the way, wiped each others tears (virtually) and provided moral support.
I have yet to meet a more beautifully heartbreaking story than the one Hanya Yanagihara has woven for us.
I actually listened to the audio-book version, which was so beautifully narrated by Oliver Wyman. You can get it for yourself on Libro.fm or grab the physical book below.
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.