Title: A Little Life
Author(s): Hanya Yanagihara
No. of pages: 720
Genre: LGBTQ+, Contemporary
Publication date: March 10th 2015
Date read: March 13th 2019
In A Little Life we follow four, very different, classmates who also happen to be best friends: Willem, Malcolm, JB and Jude. They all have their own problems with which they have to deal. Soon it’s clear that Jude is probably the most haunted of them all and even his friends never really get to know him.
If you follow me on instagram, you know that I had difficulties getting into the story. It took me about 300 pages before I was finally hooked. Yes, you read that right. 300 pages. Lots of people were so thrilled about A Little Life that I just knew there was supposed to be more to the book than just four troubled college classmates. So I sat through those 300 pages. With pain in my heart – the other books on my TBR were glaring at me – and in my head. I just didn’t like the story so far and found it utterly dull. When I reached the turning point, the pain in my heart stayed, but this time because of the story. You not only read about Willem, Malcolm, JB and Jude when they’re in college. You get to read about almost all of their further lives as well. This way you really get to know the characters and Jude’s story is one that will leave you in tears.
Jude’s story is also what bugged me a little about the overall story. Just imagine what hell on earth would look like for a human being – that’s Jude’s story. At times I found it a bit unrealistic, but maybe that’s just because I’m generally pretty happy with how my life’s going. I can’t entirely identify myself with Jude, just because nothing that bad has ever happened to me. Yes, I’ve had a period in my life where I wasn’t happy (understatement), but I can’t imagine living like that for the rest of my life. But maybe, just maybe there’s someone out there who can actually identify with Jude. Then I’m so sorry for them, and I wish I could hug all the bad things right out of them.
So, overall, I really *liked* A Little Life, although it could’ve been at least 200 pages shorter. (I say “like” like that, because this is not a book you “like”. It’s not fun to read. At all.)
Trigger warning: this book discusses sensitive topics like depression, (sexual) abuse, self harm and suicide in detail!