Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

  • Published: 10/03/2015
  • 720 pages
  • Format: Paperback

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. 

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.


A Little Life is without the doubt one for the books, you read and never forget.

The beast of the book, over 700 pages long is definitely not an easy fluffy read. The book you carry around and pick up when you have a bit of time to read or book that will lift your mood. It’s quite the opposite. It takes preparation to commit yourself to read it, it takes quite a bit of time to finish it but the most challenging part is how much emotional torture it gives you and how strong you need to feel to put up with all the feelings.

It’s a beautiful book, full of hope, love, trust and friendship. It’s about the bond and relationship between 4 people, all different but brought together and becoming the best friends. A Little life follows their lives from early 20’s all the way to real adulthood, middle age. It’s not only beautiful story of friendship but mainly soul crushing story of their friend Jude who had to endure a lot more in his early life that he should ever have to, or anyone ever should. He doesn’t believe he deserves any love and care, he is so destroyed and damaged but so strongly loved by his friends, who care and fight for his life more than he ever did. It’s not only about 4 people who grow within their group and outside of it, some of their lives written with more detail than others, it’s about the real feelings throughout the whole book, true friendship and overcoming everything that life throws at us. It’s also about things that we can’t fix, about fighting them and coming to terms with them.

This book will take you through it all, it will take over your time, over your mind and every time you put it down, you just won’t stop thinking about it. It will stay with you long after you finish it, mostly because of very unexpected ending that not only shocked me but left me numb from all the emotions.


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