Saturday, 30 April 2016

Book Review : A little life - Hanya Yanagihara

Hi everyone! As I have previously mentioned I am a bit of a book obsessive and I pretty much constantly have at least one book on the go if not more. 

My latest read has been A little life by Hanya Yanagihara as you guessed. Now I know there has been much hype about this manbooker nominee and I am as usual skeptical about anything that has a lot of hype, however the hype this time seemed to be coming from booktuber's I watch and respect so I caved and bought a copy.

The sheer hugeness of this book would usually send it to the bottom of my TBR pile for a while but I needed to know what all this hype was about so I started it on the 10th of this month and finished it on the 26th. 

So let me start by saying this book actually destroyed me. I was discussing it and explaining the plot with my mum on the day I finished it and when I described everything that happens it suddenly sounded so far fetched and unbelievable but I think the length of the book makes the whole thing seem a lot more believable and realistic. 

The book is set over the span of the four characters lives but two of the four are much more central to the story. 

We meet Willem, Malcolm, Jean-baptiste and Jude. Four seemingly average young men going through college and life with the help of each other. 

We follow their lives and become aware of Jude's problems early on. Needless to say Jude and Willem become the central characters and their friendship is truly mesmerizing. I found myself longing for such friendships, which given the context seems weird but their relationship is so intense and their bond so strong that I still yearned for it. 

Throughout the novel we learn more about Jude just as his friends do. I thought this was incredibly clever of the author as there are small snippets of information fed to us, making the story so relatable that you almost feel like you are one of them witnessing all that they witness.

This book is truly heartbreaking, it involves physical abuse, sexual abuse, self harm, and self loathing to the point where I actually read a whole chapter with a constant stream of tears running down my face. 

However there are beautiful moments of sheer joy within the story too. With this the author also allows the reader a peek into the harrowing disease of depression. Cleverly allowing us to see that happiness is possible but it also can fade as fast as it appears. We seem to experience everything that these characters experience.

Jude's health problems and struggles throughout life really made me appreciate my health and my ability to do whatever I choose. It also made me crave travel.

Once out of college the friends all follow very different paths. An actor, an artist, an architect and a litigator emerge. 

I became so emotionally invested in this story. Probably more so than any other book I have ever read. The scenes with the gallery openings are probably my favourite and I could so vividly see each and every moment that was captured in my mind. They were a perfect way to express each relationship from the outside, another tactic I found extremely clever. 

By the end I was just a complete and utter mess of a person and it honestly took me a while to pull myself together. It has been a harrowing journey but one I definitely don't regret taking which is how I imagine the characters felt too. 

I gave this five stars on goodreads and although I know it wont be for everyone I would definitely recommend giving it a try. 

Have you read anything amazing lately? Have you read this book? How did you feel about it? 

Let me know any recommendations you have in the comments. 


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