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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.
I heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book. Some says it is a trash, a depiction of unbelievable things, a worst book they have ever read. But for some, this is a gem, a work of art, a story uniquely written, a favorite book and and a 5-star read for some readers.
The first time I heard this book is through a booktuber named Kat (paperbackdreams). I saw her vlog in YouTube and I was curious and watched it. I enjoyed watching her reading vlog wherein she cries a lot by the end of the video and explained why she cried that hard in her entire life. I bought this book last December 2019, a Christmas gift for myself. I didn’t read this book as soon as I got this. Really, I feel like i’m not emotionally ready yet but now guess what? I finished the book. In a span of 5 days, I finished this 800 pages book and it turns out to be a roller coaster ride for me reading this until the very last page.
This is a story of Friendship, Family, and Survival. Revolve around the four best of friends named Jude, Malcolm, Willem, and JB. Each are successful; a lawyer, an architect, an actor, and an artist respectively. The first two parts of the book tell us about the background of each characters and the succeeding chapters are their stories specifically Jude’s stories from the past. I almost DNF this book because to be honest, the content warnings of this book is too much. Yes, this is traumatic for me. It really hurts you while you read this book. I almost didn’t believe that this is happening at all; the trauma, the physical abuse, the mental stability. It includes cutting, banging a head to a wall, continuous and deep cutting, taking oneself to almost a fire, sexual harassment (which i really hate reading). At some point, I found myself staring at blankness, thinking why Hanya Yanagihara have to take us into this? It is a deep wound and it has too much bleeding and left me with a heavy heart because at some point, I can’t take it any longer. The character formations are elemental. You will see the growth and how they deal with it as they reach their adulthood. I really admire the writing style of this. What I really admire about this book is the found family that is so great. I’d like to mention Harold and Julia for being such a great parents anyone could ever had. Perfectly amazing!
An 800 pages book is really a long ride. I found it a lot wordy for me, to think that I have to read some paragraphs twice to be able to understand it. Well, I suggest to read this while listening to the audiobook. It is confusing. Threaded with past and present in between pages is a big deal for me. There are some questionable thoughts around this book and some ideas that is hard to believe. According to an interview by Yanagihara, it is her intention to make this book somewhat a fantasy, a fairy tale like you didn’t believe it actually existed. Again, this book will hurt you. This will cause you feel unsettled mostly while turning its pages. So if you have some things about traumatic experiences or sexual abuses, maybe this book is not for you.
Ending this book got my eyes puffed. Yes, I cried. It is because the book comes to its realization, the lesson hidden between pages and basically the end of it all. This is a moving a book, a page-turner one, and an amazing book. I will never reread this book. Ever. Once is enough you know, and as they say two is too much so i’m not gonna stab myself twice harder than the first one. Yes, this is a good book and i will never forget this and will always have a special place in my heart.
https://www.audible.com – Audiobook for A Little Life.
About the Author:
Hanya K Yanagihara is an American novelist, editor, and travel writer. She grew up in Hawaii.