A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this in roughly four days, but if I’d had my way I would have called in sick to work and stayed with it the entire way through to finish it all in one or two days!
I became quickly obsessed with reading this book, and hours after finishing it, my heart is still aching from the loss of the characters and story that I had become so involved in. Which is a credit to the author, because at times, the history of Jude that she paints is unbelievably cruel, relentlessly heartless, and so obscene it must be unrealistic. Yet her portrayal of Willem, JB, Malcolm, Julia and Harold – are so realistic in their characteristics and motives that it somehow makes you a part of their circle. Like a wordless member of the group, and so you go along with it.
When looked at closely, JB, Malcolm and Willem all have fantastical stories that are unrealistic in their own way, but these seem to temper Jude’s horror childhood.
In a sense, it is a bit fairytale in some of the themes, and everyone seems to get a version of a happy ending – for a little while at least.
It hit home on quite a few of the more tangled and grey areas of friendship – where we know that we should act, but that act itself will be detrimental to the relationship, and may not even change the behaviour or outcome that we know should be faced.
Also, for those who have survived trauma in any of its shapes or versions; for those who have contemplated or acted in a self-harming way – this is a difficult read in terms of the understanding of behaviours associated with secrecy, shame and guilt the author captures.
I am wrecked after finishing it, and want another 700+pages, just to remain with these amazing people that I grew love. Especially Andy – my favourite character throughout.