This is one of the saddest books I have ever read. It was all thanks to the bookstagram community that I picked this one up – I’ve been seeing this book everywhere. A Little Life is worth it.
This book is triggering, if you have any triggers, this book is almost sure to set them off. Consider yourself warned. I think if I had known what this book was about, I might not have read it, but I’m glad I did.
Now, the meat of the book is the story of four best friends, two of whom end up being the “main” characters in the story, Jude and Willem. Jude has a mysterious past, one that his friends have speculated upon, but which they are never really sure they know the answer to. Jude won’t share it with them. They’ve never asked for much, and he’s never given up information on his own.
This novel spans decades and gives readers a little at a time to go off of. However, I felt myself intensely emotionally bonded with these characters. Yanagihara is an excellent conveyor of emotions. She holds a level of empathy in her writing that is not often apparent in other books I’ve read. Each of the characters clearly have their own motivations and vices, and they hurt each other often without meaning to throughout the course of book.
Although this book is long, and the pages are dense, I did not find myself wishing it was shorter. I did not want to leave Jude’s world, a world where I kept finding new things about the characters to love. The sadness kept going, and I took many breaks, but I did not cry. This book numbed me to the bad things that came to pass, long before the ending. The ending felt rather abrupt, although I suppose in life it often is.
Even after leaving this book alone for days, I’m not feeling eloquent in taking about how my experience was in reading this book. It’s a messy story.