Review: A Little Life

A Little Life

A Little Life 
By Hanya Yanagihara
(Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385539258, March 2015, 736pp.)

The Short of It:

This story will shatter you into a million little pieces but you need to read it anyway.

The Rest of It:

*No spoilers*

This isn’t the type of book where there is a huge plot reveal but not knowing its true subject does lend a rather precarious nature to the reading experience. Because of that, I won’t go into what the book is really about.

What I will say, is that it’s a book about friendships and relationships and the pain that comes with knowing that it’s impossible to really know everything about  a person, no matter how close you are to them.

The book spans three decades and follows the lives of four men, all friends from college. We see them at their best, and their worst. There’s Malcolm, an architect of sorts, Willem, an up and coming actor, JB, a self-absorbed but extremely talented artist and Jude, a brilliant attorney who happens to be the center of the story.

Jude is damaged by the events of the past, but he’s struggling to realize his self-worth and it’s a brutal struggle to witness. There’s pain, lots of it, heart wrenching events that will twist your stomach into knots, but the writing! It’s so damn beautiful. I read it on my Kindle and every other paragraph is highlighted because I just couldn’t stand to leave the page without marking its passage in some way.

I loved every minute I spent with this book. It’s over 700 pages long and usually, I set my reading at a good pace to finish in a reasonable amount of time, but not with this one. This one I lingered on for a long, long time.

It’s by far, the best book I’ve read this year and as soon as I turned that last page, I wanted to run out and buy a physical copy just to admire it on the shelf. THAT COVER though. Don’t click on that link unless you want a hint at what some of it’s about. It’s an image that can mean many things and let me tell you, it does.

Have I completely scared  you now? I hope not because it’s really such a wonderful book and I will continue to sing its praises until someone tells me to stop.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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25 thoughts on “Review: A Little Life”

  1. So…I have a feeling that this one is a little out of my wheelhouse, but I’ve read so many good things about it, well, I purchased it for my Kindle. Not sure when I’ll read it. Maybe soon.

  2. I just started last night but I’m not very far at all. I kept falling asleep so I decided I can work a little harder on it today when I can stay awake!

  3. I still think about this book all the time and I read it months ago. You’re right that it’s best to go in not really knowing what happens at every turn – it’s definitely a journey you take with the characters.

    1. The length of a book is sometimes daunting but I never let the length determine whether or not I’ll read it. This one takes some time though because of the subject matter. It’s not a book to read quickly. If you choose to pick it up you just have to know it will take some time. 

  4. Best book you read this year? Wow! High praise, Ti… I’m adding it – how could I not when it comes so highly recommended? 🙂

  5. I have this one sitting on my desk waiting to be read. I know its going to be good – I read a sample on my kindle and loved the writing. Can’t wait to dive into this one. Sounds like such an important read!

  6. I have the hardcover and the eBook and will never part with either. So happy you were moved by this one as well. You’ll want to read her first book, The People in the Trees at some point…….could not match A Little Life, but still very good.

  7. The cover is pretty intense. I take your word for it that it’s good. Best of the year is high praise. I’m not good at long books but perhaps this one is an exception.

  8. I finished this book yesterday at 11:15pm, but I didn’t sleep, I got up this morning and rode my bike in order to forget the pain! It’s a very good book, the friendship, the determination to love but the pain is too much, am still thinking about it.

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