Review: A Little Life

A Little Life
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I could give it 15 stars I would. People told me it was a devastating read. People warned me it would obsess me. People told me that they started it and couldn’t continue because it was so sad and grim. I knew all this and they are all right about the grim and the sad and the gritty etc etc but this book consumed me and challenged me and made me happy and then so so sad and I loved every moment of it. I had seen Hanya Yanagihara at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival last year and I knew I wanted to read the book, she seemed so genuine and I trusted that she had written a brilliant book. I’m so pleased I wasn’t disappointed.

Jude. So damaged and alone. His suffering is hard to bear at times and yet, he is so kind and thoughtful and even though his life has been traumatic in so many extreme ways, he is one of the most admirable characters I’ve read. The entire friend group in this story is so beautifully handled, their quirks and eccentricities are perfect. Oh Willem! (I decided that Willem looked just like George Clooney) Harold and Julia felt like friends by the end. I loved Andy and his caring and bossy ways. Oh all of these people who have inhabited my life for two weeks, they have moved and shattered my emotions through the whole gamut.

I had a paper copy beside me and I listened to the audiobook. Sometimes I felt like I needed to read sections in the paper book because they were just so hard to listen to. I didn’t care that it was massive, I didn’t want it to end because I knew what was going to happen. The clues were all there, there was no other way to finish it. The other night I drove to a meeting and arrived with tears streaming down my face, I attended the meeting and drove home in the same state. In a word, this is gorgeous.

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