A Little Life | book review

1:56 PM

written by Hanya Yanagihara



It took me a few weeks after I finished this book to find the strength to sit down and write my thoughts and feelings. This book gave me a book hangover, big time. And it's not the length of the book, or the actual size and weight of the hardback edition I read, nor is it solely the fact that the inside of the book is brutal, overwhelming, sad, petrifying at times, and maybe most importantly - definitely NOT a happy book (If you are on page 300 while reading this, stop, and go back to your book, you'll see). I think this book leaves you with a bit of an after-taste.. you know it, it's not too bad, but you wash it down with water anyway, but it still doesn't help, and it keeps reminding you of its existence every now and again throughout the day? That kind of after-taste. Although this one lasts more like three weeks than a day. YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY READ THIS BOOK, THOUGH. 


There are two main characters, two semi-main characters, and approximately three not-so-main-but-still-damn-important characters. Four guys, who met in college and kept their friendship going strong, telling you the story of their current lives. They're all based in New York, however, the city, the state and the scenery change a lot throughout the story. 
Did I mention the story is long? Because A LOT of things happen - I have no idea how the author did it. Once I finished the book, it felt as if all the pieces that didn't really click before suddenly created the most beautifully heart-breaking mosaic (pardon the adverbs and adjectives, but if there is a moment for exaggeration, this is it). The story can feel a bit all over the place, at times, but in the end, it all makes sense and you as the reader can see why that is. 
The story of Jude, who is the main main guy in this book, takes a long time to unravel, it in fact takes the whole of the book to do so. At first I thought.. aha, it's going to be sad, but he'll find his happy place in the world. And he sure does. For a while. I didn't expect his story to hurt so much, though. And damn it, Hanya, did you have to do the thing you did? I mean, I do realise it gives the story a seasoning of authenticity, and it takes the rose-coloured glasses away from fiction, but... then again, you yourself (through one of your characters) said: 

What he knew, he knew from books, and books lied, they made things prettier.

(Not this one, trust me.)
Maybe you only wanted to show your own character that there are books now that do not make things prettier. 

This is a book about love, and life, and struggle, and happiness, and hopelessness, and anything else you want it to be. Most importantly, though, it is a book about friendship - the beauty and the pain of it. 






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