A Little Life Book Review

*Before choosing to read this book please please please research the trigger warnings*

5/5⭐️: I don’t even know how to express how much this book meant to me but also how much it ripped my heart out. I have never felt so emotionally attached to these characters and their stories. Yanagihara has such a beautiful way with words. Her writing tells these characters’ stories like no one else I have seen. I loved how I knew exactly whose perspective the section was within the first sentence. Each voice had its own use of words and tone and each voice had a different yet the same story to tell. Additionally, this use of focusing more on the personal relationship with other human beings rather than the big things that happen in our lives like careers or trips truly brings out the best and worst of these characters. That all being said, it was one of the hardest books to read. The subject matter with the stories of these characters made me feel like I knew these people in real life. Which made it even worse to read their stories. I truly am in love with this book but with how much it truly broke me, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give it a read-through. Thank you, Hanya Yanagihara, for such a beautiful, soul-crushing, eye-opening story on love, relationships, and chosen family.

“And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.”

*Spoilers Below*

What character, moment, or quote hit me the most?

         This question is hard to answer when it comes to this book because of how much it hit me in way more ways than just one. Jude would be my immediate answer. The story is nearly all about him and his life and how can’t you think about him when anyone mentions this book? But I think Willem’s story untimely cut me the most. Not only does he talk about his love of acting but also, he has a deep connection with all his friends. He is truly the heart of the book. Without him, as Jude finds out, things crumble around all of them.

         In addition to his life, is his death. It wasn’t anything I was expecting and truly ripped my heart out and not only my heart but Jude’s. Two people who had finally found one another as they truly were being ripped apart is always a traffic tale. Witnessing it to two characters I had grown to truly love and care for, felt like watching it happen in real-time.  

Additional Reading

A Little Life is being produced into a play in London this month

James Norton (Happy Valley, Grantchester) stars in the theatrical event of 2023 as visionary director Ivo van Hove (Network, A View from the Bridge) stages the English language premiere of A LITTLE LIFE, his acclaimed production of the million-copy bestseller by Hanya Yanagihara (To Paradise, Booker Prize Shortlist for A Little Life).

The much-anticipated play also stars Luke Thompson (Bridgerton, Hamlet), Omari Douglas (It’s A Sin, Constellations), Zach Wyatt (The Witcher, I and You), Elliot Cowan (The Crown, 2:22 A Ghost Story), Zubin Varla (Tammy Faye, Equus), Nathalie Armin (Force Majeure, The Doctor), and Emilio Doorgasingh (Best of Enemies, The Kite Runner).

A LITTLE LIFE follows four college friends in New York City: aspiring actor Willem, successful architect Malcolm, struggling artist JB, and prodigious lawyer Jude.

As ambition, addiction, and pride threaten to pull the group apart, they always find themselves bound by their love for Jude and the mysteries of his past. But when those secrets come to light, they finally learn that to know Jude St Francis is to understand the limitless potential of love in the face of life.

Check out more on the show below

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