For 32 hours I listened to A Little Life, a novel by Hanya Yanagihara. All I can say is Holy Moly.
I want to talk about it, but quietly, and on a one to one basis. Too much conversation of this book, would be too much. I finished it last week and am still digesting.
The book follows the life of four friends from college. The wonderful Willem who becomes a successful actor, the super talented artist, JB, who also struggles with addiction. Malcolm who is a rich and generous architect, and very wounded and heartbreaking Jude whom they all love very much.
Really this is a book about Jude. The poor guy endured the harshest childhood I can ever imagine; how he got to college in the first place is incredible. Jude is treated so badly by so many, that that at times I had to turn off the book and just walk in silence.
Good things also happen to and for Jude, but he cannot get past his past. Full of self-hatred he strugglesÂ even with the support from his friends, his doctor, and his law-school mentor, Harold, who with his wife Julia, give Jude his first sense of family when he is 30 years old.
I kept waiting for someone, anyone to tell Jude that what happen to him was NOT his fault, not that he would have believed them, but it would have helped me.
Yanagihara is such a descriptive writer that while this is not normally the type of book I would read, I was hooked, as long as I took breaks from it to re-group and go back in.
It wasnâ€™t all tragic. I loved each of the friends. They were good and normal people, I loved how they interacted and grew old with each other.
Also, while it could and should be debated, I thought the ending was a happy one.
5 Stars with serious trigger warnings.