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A Little Life

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fiction (2015)

A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

816 pages, Paperback

First published March 10, 2015

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Hanya Yanagihara

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Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,588 followers
October 26, 2015

Everyone’s talking about Hanya Yanagihara’s Booker- and National Book Award-nominated blockbuster novel. There are lots of 5 star raves on this site. Many people are saying it’s one of the most incredible books they’ve ever read. I hate to be the outlier or considered cold-hearted (I’m not! I cry over books and movies ALL THE TIME!!!). The book took me just under 2 weeks to finish, and I’m glad I read it. I liked it, I really liked it! But I also didn’t. Here’s why.


1. The power of friendship

If this book had a theme song it might be the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends.” Four roommates at an Eastern college move to the Big Apple and become huge successes: J.B. becomes a hip downtown artist; the well-off Malcolm is a well-known architect; Willem goes from waiter to movie star practically overnight; Jude is a lawyer, first at the D.A.’s office and then at a prestigious corporate firm, where he works himself up and becomes a partner.

Over the decades, their friendship endures, through spats, early career struggles, J.B.’s drug addiction and, most of all, dealing with the effects of Jude’s unspeakably abusive past on his current life, although Jude is terrified to tell anyone about that abuse. The novel is also refreshing in its depiction of race, gender and sexual orientation.

2. The depiction of the effects of abuse
My one major takeaway from this book is a fuller understanding of the after-effects of systemic childhood abuse. Jude, an orphan raised at a monastery, the first site of his sadistic stations of the cross, feels absolutely worthless. He cuts himself (if you’re squeamish, you’ve been warned). He bangs himself against walls. In one particularly harrowing scene, he sets himself on fire. Beyond that, he can’t trust anyone and doesn’t feel he’s worthy of love, even though as an adult he gets nothing BUT unconditional love (with one notable exception). For the people who adore him (not just J.B., Malcolm and Willem but Harold, his former law professor, who, with his wife Julia, adopt Jude at age 30, and Andy, the most supportive physician on the planet), this is beyond frustrating. A good one-third to one-half of the book recounts all of that.

3. The way Jude’s brutal past is layered into the story
Yanagihara expertly weaves the story of Jude’s abusive past into his present-day narrative. And in the character of Brother Luke (especially), she understands how abusers manipulate.

4. J.B.’s art
The descriptions of J.B.’s art projects, from his early, experimental pieces as a student – one involves collecting people’s real hair – to the shows that get him attention and fame, all feel authentic. My only question would be the scope and range of his work. The subjects of his art all seem to be his friends. Really? He has no other interests? Or is this merely a comment on #1 (above)? [Side note: the cover photo for the North American edition is brutally powerful: it’s called Orgasmic Man, and captures the feeling of ecstatic turmoil vividly.]

5. The prose
Obviously a book has to be decent to keep you absorbed for over 700 pages. Yanagihara knows how to string you along. Jude has problems walking – he’s vague in his description about how this happened – and once she plants the idea of Jude’s abuse, she makes you wonder what EXACTLY happened to him. And as with any coming-of-age book, you want to know where they end up.


1. The total lack of historical context

Characters use the internet and cellphones, but no world events occur. The only things that register are the friends’ cultural milestones: JB’s retrospective, Willem’s movies (which, incidentally, all have horrible, unlikely titles), Malcolm’s buildings, Jude’s cases. There’s something incredibly narcissistic about this. Seriously? Nothing on 9/11? The economic downturn didn’t affect Malcolm’s Upper East Side family? J.B. is of Haitian background; were any relatives affected by the earthquake? No one – not one friend, colleague, etc. – is dealing with HIV? (We’re told Jude’s body is riddled with disease, but never get the details.)

2. The implausibility
Not only is Jude a top-notch litigator, but he’s also a brilliant mathematician. AND an excellent pianist. AND a singer of lieder. During school (full scholarship), he has a job at a bakery (oh, he’s also an amazing baker). So… when - and HOW - did he learn how to play piano and study German art songs? Seriously. I want to know. What bothers me is the assumption beneath all of this. Does he have to be so good at all of these things for people to love him? If someone has been abused and ISN’T as accomplished, isn’t this person just as worthy of love and understanding? For that matter, WHY do people love Jude? I don’t get it. All he seems to be doing for the entire book is saying, “I’m sorry.” Which brings me to...

Why are these guys all friends, again? Cuz they went to the same school? We don’t get enough about their early years to know what solidifies their friendship. Yanagihara just TELLS us they are friends, and we have to accept it. For 700 pages. Which brings me to…

3. The Repetition
The book needed more serious editing. It could have lost 250 pages easily. About ⅓ of the way in, I thought, somewhat heartlessly (I know, I know), “Imagine taking a drink every time Jude says ‘I’m sorry.’” I’d love to search how many times that phrase pops up, as well as the word “shame.” Just saying. We get it, Hanya.

4. Lifestyle porn
Not only do all four friends become enormous successes in their fields, but they’re constantly jetting off to exotic places (Paris for the weekend? Why not?!), buying up lofts (stylish and trendy downtown, of course, NEVER uptown) and having Malcolm decorate them in the best Architectural Digest taste. And then there’s the cultural snobbery. I howled when Willem was going to film Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and ALL OF HIS FRIENDS KNEW THE CHARACTERS FROM THE PLAY. I’ve seen Vanya several times, and even I don’t know all the characters in the play.

5. Black and white characters
I’m not talking about race, here. I’m talking about people who are either ALL GOOD or ALL BAD. We’re all somewhere in the middle, but not in Yanigihara’s universe. Which made me think that the book needs to be read as a fable, an urban fairy tale, not realism. Is that why there are no historic markers? Because this is some Dickensian book set in chic SoHo? I don’t know. But if these people who we spend so much time with had more shading, I’d probably have liked – and BELIEVED – it a lot more.


Final thoughts: obviously Yanagihara has tapped into something serious and profound with this book. I think people are responding to it because in some way we all feel damaged, used, unloved – although not to the extent that Jude does. Most of us learn to overcome our insecurities and move on. He's that terrified child we all carry around inside ourselves, saying we're no good, we're not attractive, we're not worthy of love. I just wish all this had been done with a bit more subtlety. Life isn't so black and white. Yanagihara should know that, as we get older, we learn to accept, and live with, fascinating shades of grey. And that if she had brought out those complex greys, the book would feel more authentic and less sentimental.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Michael Flick.
505 reviews639 followers
April 14, 2020
Some believe that this is “The Great Gay Novel.” That couldn’t be more wrong. There are only two recognizable gay men in this work, JB and Caleb. A creative queen and a violent, probably psychopathic, sadist. All the other “possibilities” are pedophiles (categorically not gay—that’s a sickness, an evil, that has nothing to do with being gay) or so hopelessly confused (and impotent) that you can’t know what they are (JB and Willem). The take on gay men here is antediluvian—a dangerous and discredited brand of heteronormative delusion in which all gay men, no matter the glittering surface of their lives, are fated only to die a lonely, miserable death. Caleb dies an excruciating death (so we’re told) from pancreatic cancer. JB, the witty, flamboyant, unstable, creative queen is merely a plot point. His happiness, told but not shown, at the bitter end doesn’t mean anything more than that. He’s a device to wring one more regret from you, one more sorrow. You can be assured that he, too, will die an ignoble death just beyond this novel’s last page. And you won’t be troubled or offended or titillated by the gay sex (or really any sex) here because there isn’t any: it’s the sex that dare not speak its name. All this is because the author knows absolutely nothing about gay men other than the most superficial stereotypes and doesn’t have the imagination to venture deeper than that. She can’t even imagine that a man (Willem) doesn’t need a woman to quench his sexual needs—he has a solution readily at hand.

Some people believe this is a novel about friendship. That also couldn’t be more wrong. The author warns you early on [225] that friendship is nothing but the slow drip of miseries. This book is not about friends, it is about enablers. All the main characters are there specifically to enable Jude, which is precisely what destroys him. Were they his friends, they would never have let things progress the way they did.

Some people believe that a strength of this book is that the author's presence is not felt. This also couldn’t be more wrong. There is absolutely nothing here that is not the author’s presence. It is all tell and no show. The characters are cartoons. They can’t grow. They can’t surprise. All they can do is grind the meticulous plot forward. They are not here for any other purpose. They aren’t really characters at all, just cogs in a machine.

Every novel demands, by necessity, some suspension of disbelief. But no novel can be unbelievable. But that’s all we’re told. Four adolescents are thrown together as suitemates at a highly prestigious Cambridge college (wink, wink) and we’re told, not shown, that they effortlessly go on to become the best, the most famous—trial lawyer, actor, artist, and architect. The actor and architect might squeak by as believable, but not the trial lawyer, not the artist. From what we’re told about the trial lawyer, it’s impossible to reconcile his catastrophic, constricted, precarious little life with the cold, predatory, expert were told he is. From what we’re told about the artist, it’s impossible to believe, even in New York City’s insular and provincial art world, that the same series of portraits from photographs of the same three men over and over and over again will raise him to the top of that art world. The artists, the real ones, the author cites are all mediocre; the one she tells surely must be likewise.

Moreover, we’re told that that men, all men, have a permanent, genetic, stunted repertoire of emotion, have a tiny emotional toolbox. And that their character is fixed at some ill defined state in their past and beyond that no change can ever take place. Growth, change, redemption—all are denied. Thus, we don’t get characters, we get cartoons. Cardboard cutouts. They are here only to satisfy the deliberate plotting. They are only means to the author’s ends, nothing more.

And to add to the unbelievability: the villains, puerile: the pedophiles—Catholic clergy, Dickensonian orphanage counselors, a homicidal psychiatrist, long-haul truckers, a vast nationwide network of solitary and group child predators; and, of course, the brutal, violent gay psychopath. Even granting evil is banal, this is beneath banal. Cartoon. Cardboard. What’s lacking here, and elsewhere, everywhere in this novel, is any imagination beyond just that: the banal; the puerile; the stereotype.

Not to dwell on the unbelievable, but it permeates this book. Nonexistent syndromes. Nonexistent legal cases. Hyenas that climb trees. And over and over and over the doctor, Andy: he fails every duty of care, everything that physicians stand for, believe in, dedicate their lives to—he’s there only to enable. He doesn’t report what must be reported, not just legally but morally. And, of course, plot over believability, neither do any other of the medical professionals, doctors and nurses, a legion of them through whose care Jude passes. They all turn a blind eye to the evidence of his abuse, his self abuse. Andy neglects to mention the very real and virtually insoluble problem of phantom pain when he explains amputation to Jude, but then just that develops post-op, only to be brushed aside a few pages later. It doesn’t work that way. (And, really, it would have meshed perfectly with the author’s plot. Another failure of imagination?) And, fundamentally: physicians don’t treat their friends, their family. That’s a recipe for disaster. Unless disaster is precisely the aim.

And I just can’t let it go: lunch at obviously Le Bernardin, Willem without a jacket. No way. No man dines there who is not wearing a jacket. And especially not an actor, no matter how famous. Here, I guess, the point where the author did let her imagination run wild.

And I’d be remiss not to mention the language. Suited to its task. Occasionally it seems almost to take flight, but when it does, it seems more appropriate for a glossy travel magazine. And it almost always tries to take flight in just such a milieu: Bhutan, the Alhambra.

Most people think that this 720 page novel is too long. Way too long. But imagine what it would be were it the size of most all contemporary novels, 250-350 pages, more or less. Half or less what it is now. What would it be? Even more obviously the ridiculous cartoon that it is. The length is intrinsic to this work. It is long, patiently and meticulously plotted. The very length is part and parcel of its purpose. The reader made to suffer, one with the gears of the plot. That’s the whole point.

The leitmotif is sorrow. Everyone is always saying “I’m sorry.” Over and over and over and over again. Of course, thus sorrow loses all meaning, becomes trite. But meanwhile the author is carefully and meticulously adhering to the through line, everyone will suffer, every character, the reader. It’s nothing but melodramatic manipulation.

So what is this after I’ve rambled on about what it isn’t? I think it’s a masterpiece of a new kind, joining closely related genres such as mommy porn and the venerable bodice rippers: this is authorial sadism. The author is a “literary” (if you can dignify her as such) dominatrix. Every character set up to fail, no possibility of redemption, growth. And the person who suffers the most in the end is the reader. Set up to be crushed. Again: that’s the whole point.

All of us are the stories we tell. No less the novelist.

If you read this book and found it amazing, I’m sorry.

If you haven’t read this book, don’t.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,772 reviews1,771 followers
May 31, 2021
Fuck this book.

And it started out so well! The writing is actually gorgeous. I can see why many, many people like this book. Really, Hanya Yanagihara knows how to use language. Unfortunately, the story she told was not worthy of it. The longer I read this book, the more I dreaded reading it, the worse my feelings got as I read, and the more I hated it for existing. Then I read a bunch of interviews by her and hated the book even more.

The long and short of it is that this book is nothing but misery porn, on purpose. (Here's a Vulture interview where she talks about the inspiration for writing the book to create a book version of ombré cloth, which if you're not familiar, by the time you get to the end is pitch black. Yeah, let's make art that will stain our souls!!!!!)

This book.

Nothing in life is positive, there is only human suffering, true connection is impossible, predators will always find and ruin truly good people, everything is evil, the people who love you are not enough to save you, and your happiness will turn to ashes in your mouth. The End.

Fuck. This. Book.

There is a lot more that I could say about this book but I don't think I have enough time or space. Other people have criticized more articulately the implications of the way Yanagihara treats her gay characters, who exist seemingly only to suffer (while paradoxically others have praised it as the great gay novel). She also stated in several other interviews her desire to write a character so broken he couldn't be fixed, which she accomplishes in her protagonist Jude. Some have called this a melodrama, and that seems accurate. Everything is over the top, but stated in such bald and beautiful prose that it doesn't feel that way at the time. Instead, these larger than life events are made to seem trite and commonplace. Yes, there are bad priests in the Catholic church. Yes, the church covered this up. Do I think it's likely that an *entire abbey* (the whole thing!) full of Franciscans (the most peaceable and loving sect in Catholicism) would not only participate in child molestation, but condone it openly? Hell no. One more ridiculous thing in this book on top of another. If it's unlikely and causes Jude lots of pain, just put it in this book!

The real deal breaker for me was when I paused midway through the novel to read an interview where Yanagihara stated her criticism of psychiatry as a way to treat mental illness. The implication that some people are too broken to help and we should just let them die is so, so harmful, and in no way does it help to eradicate the stigma against mental illness in this country. We should not be telling "broken" people it's okay to die. We should be telling them they are not alone in their suffering, and help them find ways to cope with their illnesses and traumas. I will admit I checked out of the book then, and it was only a matter of time before I gave up and spoiled myself on the rest of it, so I wouldn't have to torture myself mentally any further.

Glad I did, because the end of this book is a big rusty nail up the butt.

This one from the London Review of Books is my favorite review of the book I've read so far. Let me quote my favorite part:
"He wishes he too could forget, that he too could choose never to consider Caleb again. Always, he wonders why and how he has let four months – four months increasingly distant from him – so affect him, so alter his life. But then, he might as well ask – as he often does – why he has let the first 15 years of his life so dictate the past 28."

The answer, of course, is that it’s Yanagihara’s design. That’s why it’s good to know that Jude is entirely her concoction, not a figure based on testimony by survivors of child rape, clinical case studies or anything empirical. I found Jude an infuriating object of attention, but resisted blaming the victim. I blame the author.

A Little Life has received some ecstatic reviews. The most intriguing of these is the novelist Garth Greenwell’s in the Atlantic, which argues that it’s the long-awaited ‘great gay novel’: ‘It engages with aesthetic modes long coded as queer: melodrama, sentimental fiction, grand opera,’ he writes. ‘By violating the canons of current literary taste, by embracing melodrama and exaggeration and sentiment, it can access emotional truths denied more modest means of expression.’ Perhaps I’m in thrall to current literary taste, but the only character in A Little Life who seems possessed of anything like ‘emotional truths’ or a sense of irony, the only supporting player in this elaborately ethnically diverse cast who doesn’t seem like a stereotypical middle-class striver plucked out of 1950s cinema, is JB. He’s temporarily ushered out of the narrative after he says to Jude: ‘You like always being the person who gets to learn everyone else’s secrets, without ever telling us a single fucking thing? … Well, it doesn’t fucking work like that, and we’re all fucking sick of you.’ JB’s also the one hooked on crystal meth. What real person trapped in this novel wouldn’t become a drug addict?

I think what makes the most angry about this book is that I do see flashes of brilliance in it. Images I loved, earned emotions. Early on in the novel, one character muses about being a guest in his own life. Another talks about photography in terms that made me stop in my tracks and pause the audiobook just so I think about what she'd written. Later, the relationship between Jude and his adoptive father and the love his adoptive father has for him made me cry. But all of that doesn't matter, when the end result is what we're given.

What it comes down to the fact that pain was the only point, and I think that is reprehensible.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 7, 2016
A Little Life is a strong contender for the award for the most depressing book I've ever read. I swear I'm not even exaggerating.

At this point, I'm not certain whether this is a positive or negative review. There's no doubt that this book is beautifully-written and contains some of the most raw and honest prose I've ever had the pleasure or misfortune of reading, but it's a long very long character study - over 700 pages of misery, substance abuse, self-harm, sexual and psychological abuse (and its aftermath), with very little of that "light" promised in the blurb.

There's a section of this book called "The Happy Years" and never has a title been more misleading, if you ask me. But let me give you some idea what this book is about first. It starts with four young friends moving to New York - poor and uncertain of themselves - and trying to make their way. The characterization of JB, Malcolm, Willem and Jude is, to put it plainly, marvelous. They are such complex, well-crafted individuals with their own passions, hopes and fears.

While the book details the lives of all four of them, Jude finds himself at the centre of this story, influencing the lives of his three friends. The more you read of A Little Life, the more you realize that it is really a novel about Jude, and the other three characters - though important - are secondary to the story of Jude's journey from a childhood full of sexual abuse to an unhappy adulthood.

Those promised "The Happy Years" are some of the most heartbreaking chapters I've ever read. I read another review where the person said she had to put the book down because this part of the book was too close and personal. To quote the reviewer:

I feel like someone shoved their hand in my torso and started stroking my organs while a therapist sits there observing and then asks me, "now, how does that make you feel?"

I know what she means. It's brutally, painfully honest. It makes you feel like you're witnessing something you shouldn't be in the relationship between Willem and Jude. And, by the way, it is one of the most interesting, strange and truly depressing relationships I've ever encountered. The fear Jude feels that this relationship will be pulled apart by his own problems is palpable, and the lengths he goes to in order to conceal his issues made me so sad for him.

But I can foresee the future onslaught of negative reviews that call this book "torture porn". It is so helplessly bleak. Everything bad that can possibly happen to Jude seems to happen and even when he finds someone to love him in his "happy years", that too is tainted by his past.

Also, I find that very few books actually need to have this many pages. Almost all books over 600 pages seem too long to me, with many scenes feeling like they weren't needed and should be cut out. While I appreciated the depth of the character development, I'm certain that at least 100 pages of this book could have been shed without losing any emotional punch. Some of the character development felt dragged out way too long; one instance that comes to mind is the descriptions of JB's art - from his time building models out of hair, to his paintings - I feel like my understanding of JB and his relationship with art could have been achieved in far fewer pages.

This is one of those books that brings a whole lot of genius to the table but very little real enjoyment. It's long, slow in parts, and very VERY depressing. But if you are not put off by the length and the dark subject matter, I would say it's the kind of book that needs to be read. It's the kind of book people will talk about and it's the kind of book that has you saying "this is the most ________ book/relationship/characterization I have ever read".

And that really is kind of amazing.

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Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews8,993 followers
December 12, 2015
I slept with this book after I read it. I kid you not: I held its bulking, hardcover bound 700 pages in my arms as I fell asleep amid a raging storm. I refused to let A Little Life leave me. Its brilliant writing, its broken characters, and its bleak, unforgiving story dug into my heart, into the very pores of my skin. As a twenty-year-old, I felt both so young and so old upon finishing this novel, as if its sheer humanity aged my soul while making me appreciate all the years I still have left.

A Little Life follows four friends after they graduate from a small, prestigious Massachusetts college: Willem, a kind and talented actor; JB, a sharp and sometimes-caustic artist, Malcolm, an aspiring architect at a well-known firm; and Jude, a mysterious and intelligent litigator. What looks like an average bildungsroman turns into an intense and tragic tale when we learn about enigmatic Jude's backstory. Abandoned at a monastery at birth, he endured a childhood of severe physical and emotional abuse, followed by several years of sexual abuse, forced prostitution, and psychological trauma. The book soon hones in on Jude's struggle to free himself from the demons of his past, the hyenas that howl and drown out the voices of his closest, most beloved friends.

This book is relentlessly sad and exquisitely written. Hanya Yanagihara spares us no mercy when revealing Jude's trauma. She details both his past abuse and his present self-harm with explicit specificity, her diction so precise and piercing it made me shake, and at times, sob. Yanagihara writes both Jude's suffering and his friendships with a keen eye. She captures the nuances of human emotion, physical space, and change over time with eloquence and heart. She writes about some of the most wretched, abominable acts of cruelty I have ever read without sentimentalizing any of the abuse or making any of the characters' feelings mawkish.

Yanagihara offers us temporary respite from the pain within Jude's past by showing us the power of friendship. A Little Life's most affective moments come not from its graphic depictions of violence, but from its quiet, uplifting portrayals of compassion. While the many abusive men in Jude's earlier life show us the depth of human atrocity, Jude's tender, bittersweet relationships with Willem, Harold, Andy, and others offer to us mankind's capacity for kindness. All of these complex characters make mistakes, and through their imperfections shines their humanness.

Please keep in mind: A Little Life is ruthlessly depressing. In the end, Jude really receives no reprieve from his anguish. As someone who has suffered his own abuse - a version less intense than Jude's, yet still real - and as someone who reads a lot about abuse, I appreciated Yanagihara's dedication to showing the darker side of reality. Trauma is trauma is trauma. And while we can all fight for recovery, sometimes that absolvement may never come. Sometimes, we just have to act with whatever kindness we have left and hope that it brings even a moment of light into the dark.

Highly recommended to anyone who wants their heart both filled and destroyed. Set aside some quality time for A Little Life. It will consume you.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,639 reviews2,155 followers
July 20, 2015
It may sound presumptuous to say in January that I've read the best book I've read all year, but reading is a lot like love. Sometimes you just know.

A LITTLE LIFE is a title with 3 meanings. First, it refers to its protagonist, Jude, a man who cannot ever accept that his life is worthwhile. Second, it refers to the act of reading it, spending time in this book is really like living a version of life.

There is a third meaning, one that you don't discover until around halfway through the book when the title's words are used in a context that is like a punch to the gut. When you read them you may find yourself having a physical reaction, your stomach may flip, your skin may go cold, you may gasp for breath. And that is a lot of what the experience of reading this book is like. You can call these parts of the book words like "awful," but to be real you'd need to pull out your thesaurus and just line them up one after the other. This is not a book that is easy for your emotions. You care about the people in it, so the pain can really hurt you.

You will hear that this is a book about 4 friends. It's not. They're a nice framing device, but this is a book about one person and the people who are connected to him. His life is made up of extremes. I found myself weeping over and over again because of the love and compassion and kindness that characters in the book displayed. But this book has some of the most harrowing and horrifying scenes I've read anywhere. It is not really spoiling anything to say this involves terrible things happening to a child. Everyone knows from the very beginning that something bad happened to Jude when he was young. It's just so much worse than you could imagine. (If you have trouble reading about child abuse, it's probably best you not read this book. While it's essential to the story, it is not glossed over or referenced vaguely and what is described is truly terrible to contemplate.)

Jude is not a new character. The damaged soul whose self-worth never really recovers is present in a lot of modern fiction. Yanagihara's trick, I think, is just how willing she is to plumb the depths of his darkness and its effects on those around him. She follows him for decades, observes him in all situations, and is unflinching in her depictions. Her writing is the kind of good that you can miss if you're not paying attention. You are so caught up in her story that it's easy to miss just how agile and careful the book is. It eases back and forth from character to character, backwards and forwards in time, and it never feels strained.

I stayed up for hours to finish this book and then couldn't sleep because I couldn't let it go. I was overcome by the book and by the loss of finishing it.

This is a book about love and what it means and what it can do and it is the humanity of its characters and their love for each other that will stick with me.

If it was presumptuous to say this is my favorite book of 2015 since it tries to predict the future, I do feel that I can dig through the past and assert with certainty that this is one of the best books I've ever read.
195 reviews121 followers
March 9, 2015
Note: I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

Around page 150 of Hanya Yanagihara’s second novel, A Little Life, which follows four friends from their college years into their fifties, I wrote the following in my notes:

I am more excited about Hanya Yanagihara and her work and her career than I have been about any author in a really long time.

Around page 200 I wrote this:

Is Jude’s suffering perhaps a tad overwrought? It is starting to seem like everything bad happens to him forever. Maybe we should spend some time with one of the other characters.

Page 200 Jenny was right, and Page 150 Jenny was — well, hope springs eternal, and maybe Yanagihara’s third book will be back up to the standard of The People in the Trees. But as for A Little Life, describing Jude’s suffering as “a tad overwrought” is like describing Dolores Umbridge as “a tad unpleasant.” Yanagihara employs a plot strategy of which I was very fond when I was eleven, which was to think of as many dreadful fates as I could and heap them upon my protagonist one after another. Then when I ran out of ideas, I killed the protagonist off and wrote heartrending scenes of her friends-and-relations mourning her wretched life and too-early passing. I did this because I was eleven. I am not sure what Yanagihara’s problem is.

We learn early on that Jude is physically frail, due to an unspecified injury in his past, and that his family isn’t in the picture. Over the course of seven hundred pages, Yanagihara unfolds a cartoonishly woeful backstory to explain all of this. When you first start to recognize the way Jude’s abusive past is tearing him apart in the present, it’s heartbreaking. After two or three wicked villains have gotten through abusing him just because they’re evil, you start worrying that if the author doesn’t right the ship, you’re going to find yourself in the unenviable position of describing a depiction of child sex abuse as silly in your eventual review.

The maddening waste is that Yanagihara’s writing is elegant and evocative, and she’s able — at times — to capture with precision and delicacy the true, messy emotions between her characters. And the kind of story that she’s (I think) trying to tell is a kind of story I want to see more of. I want a story that doesn’t pretend there’s a straight path out of trauma into healing that you travel once and then you reach the end and you and your trauma have no further business to transact. I want a story that places serious value on relationships other than romantic ones. I want a story about loving someone who cannot always see his way clear to continuing to live in this world.

Ideally, of course, these stories would reach me unencumbered by several metric tons of lunatic melodrama, and I would not have to use the word dreck in reference to an author I admire. But in this I am evidently destined for disappointment.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
September 28, 2021
“Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?”

Two months. Books usually don't take me this long to be read. Even long books don't. So what's the reason I was stuck with this book for so long?

Let's see. The never ending suffering and pain. The exaggerated and gross cruelty. The sadistic hopelessness. That's why.

I had such high expectations. And it would have been so easy to meet them. All I longed for while reading this book - and talking myself into picking it up and finishing it - was for the main character to find hope. Not happiness, I cancelled out that option pretty quickly, but the hope that happiness might be an option. Spoiler: He never found it.
Now, we all know and love that kind of book, those epic and dramatic novels we read, cause they'll sweep us away and make us weep, make our heart ache. And we love those books cause we know they will mend our broken hearts again. We will suffer, but we're going to be happy about it.
I expected to cry and weep a lot with this book. I had tears in my eyes, yes, but those were tears of desperation and hatred. Hanya Yanagihara abuses the main character maliciously, mistreats our feelings, and shows us how ugly and hurtful a single life can be.
I'm not sure what people mean when they say this was a beautiful book. Possibly the prose? The setting? Sure as hell not Jude's story right? Sure as hell, not the fact that - spoiler - he literally gets fucked and crippled by countless disgusting and evil men, who make him believe that he is a worthless, ugly, non-deserving piece of trash for his entire life, so that he finally kills himself STILL convinced he is worthless, ugly and non-deserving.

What kind of book is this. How far does an author have to go? Why does an author have to get so disgustingly graphic, so horrific?

Yes, I admit, there were nice parts. Yes, I enjoyed the writing. Yes I loved the travels and the infinitely rich lifestyle everyone seemed to live, but which also made this book even less credible. Yes, of course, I celebrated Jude's achievements, friendships, his lucky moments. But all his lucky moments, all the love he deserved, all the friends he had, had to be taken from him. And this shattered my awe for and good opinion of this novel.

This book was filled to the brim with queer pain, and frankly I'm not here for that. I don't think queer characters shouldn't be allowed to suffer, but they're owed a chance at happiness. No such luck here.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,173 reviews8,385 followers
August 9, 2016
I can't, with a clear conscience, give this book anything less than 5 stars. It's a book that kept me reading long into the night, made me turn each page with vigor and curiosity, gave me chills and shivers over the joys and sorrows of each character, and ultimately left me feeling a bit older and tortured and yet at peace with the deeply complicated nature of humanity.

What Hanya Yanagihara does with A Little Life is nothing nearly as pretentious as that paragraph above. Somehow in 720 pages, she manages to adequately--better yet, excellently--show and make the reader experiences the lives of these young men. The novel follows four boys who meet at college: Malcolm, JB, Willem, and the central and mysterious figure, Jude. It's truly Jude's tale, but Yanagihara ends up telling each and every one of the boys' stories with ease and genuineness that makes them real.

Her prose is clean and honest and revealing of the many emotions that humans experience. It's never explicitly beautiful, not flowery or overwrought with adjectives or descriptors. But it has its own beauty that comes from its ability to convey these feelings, making you feel every pain or happiness that Malcolm and JB and Willem and Jude feel. It's some of the best prose I've read in a while (or ever read), and I wanted it to keep going on forever.

There's so much more I could say about this book. About how it hurt me to read at times--because yes, there is very graphic material (i.e. self-harm, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, drug use) that makes the reading cringeworthy in parts--about how I fell in love with so many wonderful people in this story, about how I learned empathy and sorrow and frustration and anger for and with each of them, and how if I were to write a book I would want it to have the essence of this one.

The truth is, though, I can't recommend this book to people, not without knowing them very well. Because it's a difficult journey that I can't suggest everyone take. Don't take this book lightly. But if you do choose to read it, if you choose to flip to that first page, be prepared for something inexplicable and jarring, but resilient and beautiful and ultimately worthwhile.

Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.5k followers
August 22, 2023
This is an excellent, maybe perfect book, and I will never recommend it to anyone.


The edition I read is 951 pages long, and I read it in 24 hours. My sister calculated that I read a page every waking minute, even as it was a workday. I have never in my life lived inside a story like I did this one.

I slept little. I couldn't focus on anything. When I tried to pick up books after this one they were pale imitations to what I had learned storytelling could be.

I have never loved characters like this, like I knew them. I have never gasped and cried and said "nonono" like I did with this.

This HURT.

So while it was an extraordinary experience, a one-of-a-kind story, maybe something I would otherwise have perceived as the type of book that keeps us reading...

Don't pick it up.

Because not only is this book so goddamn painful (and yes, everything you've heard about how sad this is is true tenfold), but it makes other stories feel less.

Consume at your own risk.

Bottom line: Damn you, Hanya Yanagihara, you evil sorcerer.

currently-reading updates

i am ready to be destroyed.

okay, i'm not, but i'm doing it anyway.
Profile Image for Estelle.
168 reviews103 followers
February 14, 2018
Brace yourself for the most melodramatic, pretentious, dull, dumb, overwritten, repetitive, laughable, cringe-inducing, self-indulgent, unbelievable, stereotypical, voyeuristic, contrived piece of fiction.

After pushing through and trying to motivate myself to finish this book just to see if there's more to it or some kind of message there... I'm putting this book down for good.
90% in. Normally, I would have kept going just to find out what happens to the characters, but honestly I care so little about any of them, they can all die or live, they just remain empty caricatures to me and I have better things to read.

At least it was so over the top it gave me a good laugh every now and then.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.5k followers
July 9, 2019
OMG my poor heart... I can't...

If you want to find yourself sobbing late at night for characters you grow so attached to and have to put down the book for a while… this is it.

It’s been a very long time since a book utterly broke me.

Beautifully written character driven book (see I like them sometimes!) about our friends meeting in university in New York. It’s about their lives, their careers, their friendships, their high points but mostly their low ones.

Trigger warnings for… everything.
Profile Image for Alexander Patino.
48 reviews114 followers
March 8, 2015
You get a first read only once. I don't know what to say. It's the book of my life. Not that it mirrors my life, but that it's the literary love of my life. I know I get hyperbolic about this kind of stuff, but it is what it is. The most cathartic reading experience I've ever had. I'm shaking and crying writing this. How to move on after this one - hard to imagine I will.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
December 25, 2019
i have died a hundred deaths and shed a thousand tears whilst reading this book. it feels as if i have never truly known grief until this moment. how does one recover from such heartbreak?

i am at a complete loss, in a devastatingly beautiful way; but how comforting it is to know that a story about a little life has become such a significant part of mine.

5 stars
Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
130 reviews98.3k followers
February 11, 2022
edit: after months of sitting on this and finally collecting my thoughts, I can firmly say that I despise this book and I still wish i'd never read it

august 2021: I can’t give this a rating. I don’t even know what I think about it. I just wish I’d never read it.
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 120 books160k followers
September 14, 2015
Brilliant, devastating, heartbreaking. Fucking hatefully sad at times. There are places that are overwrought and overwritten but this is an amazing, engrossing novel. Just wow.
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
January 9, 2022
did i finish this book, or did this book finish me?
Profile Image for Bel Rodrigues.
Author 3 books19.9k followers
January 26, 2021
"por isso tento ser amável com tudo o que vejo, e em tudo que vejo, eu vejo ele."

é genuinamente impossível absorver esse livro logo depois de lê-lo. nem sei quando vou conseguir dizer que to pronta pra falar dele, mas o que posso dizer agora é que sou uma pessoa diferente de quem eu era há doze dias, antes de começar a ler essa história.
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
625 reviews2,020 followers
November 28, 2022
I don’t want to read a book written by an able-bodied person on the suffering of a disabled person without the research and nuance. You are allowed to love this book (I don’t though) but don’t close your eyes to the fact that this is an able-bodied person writing about how a gay disabled character “never gets better”…. I don’t like what that says.

Everyone keeps saying “books don’t need to have a happy ending” and that’s why people dislike this book. But it’s not the reason? Atleast not for me. This book could have the saddest ending for all I care but what matters to me is how it got there. And reading through a friendship that we didn’t even get to watch grow, was not it.

The biggest trigger warnings for this book is self harm, rape, (child molestation, child prostitution), suicide. Check the ending of this review for more. And I don’t care if you consider trigger warnings as spoilers because keeping someone from experiencing episodes and relapses is more important to me than your “plot twists” and your “enjoyment”. It needs to be said and it needs to be normalized because I don’t want to imagine even one person going through what I went through reading this book, or worse. So I hope that if you’re hyping this book up and someone asks you why it’s so depressing, you can tell them about it’s trigger warnings and keep from openly saying that it’s a “worth it read”. I’m tired of people recommending this problematic book so easily.

this book should never be recommended lightly. And should be read by those who are in the healthy headspace to do so.

I was wrong to think that this was going to be about friendship, it's not. which was half of the reason I started this, and the full reason why I thought I would still love it despite the endless list of all the most trigger-able content. I thought we were going to see the development of this friendship or at least get to know why their found family was/is as solid as it supposedly was. And we never got to see that. I really don't know why people keep emphasizing it but I'm here to tell you that it isn't and I was gravely disappointed when I realized what this book was really about. Some characters were used as plot points and some where used to make you feel guilty... at worst, they were added for the shock factor.

Before I say anything else, if you didn’t already know, the author herself said that she wrote Jude without doing any research and that he came to her “fully formed”. Given that the author is not 1. A disabled person and 2. A gay man bothered me the whole time I was reading this book. If you are going to write about mentally sick disabled gay man, you should at least do research about… well, all of those if you’re going to be writing about highly sensitive topics. Most especially when you pack so many traumatizing things into one book.

In another interview she said that the reason that she writes about men is because she thinks that they aren’t as good in expressing their emotions as women. And I don’t know with you but that’s a red flag to me.

hmm… so… this was grueling to read and I was extremely triggered the whole time I was reading so there’s that. I read the trigger warnings about this book before reading it but i didn’t realize that it so strongly focused on self-harm and self-destruction as much as it did. As someone who has battled with self-harm, it’s going to be incredibly upsetting and hard to read if you aren’t ready. I know it was for me. No one really emphasized that part when I was going through reviews and I do see why since it could be seen as a “spoiler” but I think we need to stop equating trigger warnings = spoilers. . It keeps people from having to read triggering content, like what happened to me, that could result to relapses. I could feel my mental health going somewhere I didn’t want it to.

This book wasn’t for me but I know a lot of people loved it. More thoughts in the future (maybe) because it’s currently 1am and I very tired.

Somewhat Full RTC!!

content warnings// Ableism (violent), Child abandonment, Child abuse, Child death, Child molestation, Child rape, Drug abuse, Domestic violence/abuse, Eating disorder, Emotional abuse, Gaslighting, Grooming, Lesbophobia (unchallenged), Manipulation, Pedophilia, Physical abuse, Prostitution, Racism, Rape, Self harm (graphic), Sexual abuse, Sexual assault, Suicide ideation, Suicide Expand, Transphobia (misgendering)

kat from @paperbackdreams said that bridge to terabithia is nothing compared to this and i am nervous because i’ve watched/read that more times than i can count and have sobbed each time

maybe I should wait to read this for a time when I'm feeling a little happier so that I'll have a heart to actually break
Profile Image for Perry.
632 reviews532 followers
October 30, 2022
This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly....
It should be thrown with great force.
Dorothy Parker

Manipulating Readers to nth Degree of Misery and Sorrow

I hated this. I cannot recall another that so raised my ire. An über leftist pre-meditated kumba-yah-waaah, plodding so far into the wimper-sphere that it could legitimately be considered an ironic harbinger of the kind of paternalistic elitism, against which middle America arose in vengeance, delivering us the worst leader in U.S. history.

In this [Vulture piece] the author discussed how she was inspired to create a novel of ombré cloth. If you don't know, an ombré cloth is one that by the time you get to the end is pitch black. As Goodreads member Ashley says in her review, " Yeah, let's make art that will stain our souls!!! "

If I was writing this review as some sort of literary quasi-critic, I might give the book 3 stars for capable writing and full development of characters, as it thoroughly explores the devastating, lifelong impact of child abuse on the abused. According to Picasso said, "art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth." Unfortunately, the author's intentions were less than admirable in writing A Little Life.

Whoever is looking for a book for enjoyment or edification: the ordeal in reading this was way more than I could bear. It is the saddest and gloomiest I've ever read. A doctor who's read this book would have to strongly advise a patient suffering clinical depression to avoid the misery of reading it... at all costs.

Understandably then--I think--when I found out that Ms. Yanagihara meant to toy with the emotions of everyone who read this, that she set out to write it in a way that would depress, oppress and dishearten unsuspecting readers, I was pissed. Would I go view a film if I knew the screenwriter's purpose was to inflict gratuitous pain and anguish? NO. This is different than emotions like cheer, fear, and sneers at irony. I know a horror movie's purpose is to scare, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Apatow rom-coms are intended to cheer me, and movies like Gladiator and Braveheart to evoke and satiate my inner urge for justice and vengeance. I could think of novels if I had more time.

Understand me when I say that I have nothing against books that are sad, if such sadness is organic to the story, Lord knows I've read enough of them and they make me upset sometimes. Many I've rated 5 stars. What I am referencing is intentional manipulation of emotions to compose the story to manufacture pain. I like how Philip Roth explained the difference: “ Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.

Such deliberate machinations violate the implicit compact between readers and authors: for the former to keep an open mind and suspend disbelief in reading the novel, and for the latter to write a story as truthfully as possible, which means not deceptively attempting to manipulate the reader's emotions. To write the story with its fictive facts in a way that is honest, veridical, organic. Sure, the writer can sway with subtext and mood and motifs. Yet, I don't recall a writer, as did this one, who admits that her purpose in writing this book was to make the reader feel as awful and as sad as possible.

Faulkner, no writer of uplifting books himself, said "the writer's privilege" is "to help man endure by lifting his heart." To be sure, I've read plenty of sad novels (including some of my favorites); most of the great ones are, in one way or another, depressing. And yet, when I look back I can find something spiritually uplifting in each. Nothing in this novel lifted my heart.

For these reasons, I'm giving the novel 1 star. I only wish I had the option of zero.

Also see: review from The London Review of Books [Review]:
"He wishes he too could forget, that he too could choose never to consider Caleb again. Always, he wonders why and how he has let four months – four months increasingly distant from him – so affect him, so alter his life. But then, he might as well ask – as he often does – why he has let the first 15 years of his life so dictate the past 28."

The answer, of course, is that it’s Yanagihara’s design. That’s why it’s good to know that Jude is entirely her concoction, not a figure based on testimony by survivors of child rape, clinical case studies or anything empirical. I found Jude an infuriating object of attention, but resisted blaming the victim. I blame the author.

Profile Image for Zoe.
331 reviews1,439 followers
Want to read
March 3, 2022
I want my mental health to stay stable so I will never read this book.
Profile Image for Nick Pageant.
Author 6 books888 followers
September 4, 2015
A Little Life is a powerful, disturbing novel. It's full of pain, desperation, and a sense of isolating sadness that sucks the reader into some very dark places. It's also the best book I've read in years.

Reading the blurb, you'll get the idea that this work is about 4 college friends and their lives, but that's not entirely true. While each of the 4 main characters, and in fact all the characters in the book, are fully realized with extraordinary character development, the book is really about just one man, Jude St. Francis.

Jude is a truly broken person; he's been broken by a childhood that is both a series of horrors that are difficult to read about and a testament to what a human being can endure. Jude doesn't come out of his childhood whole and I feel a little broken by having read about his life. I also feel that strange happiness that comes from being emotionally purged in the way that only great books can accomplish.

As Alona mentioned in her review, this is not a romance, but it is a love story. It's a love story about friendship that tries to overcome pain, and the bravery and sacrifice that true friendship and love sometimes require. The romance in this book is a beautiful one, but not in the traditional sense that a reader might expect or want for the characters involved.

We all often say that we loved this character or that character in one of the many books that we read, I know I say it often, but the character of Jude St. Francis is something special. I loved Jude more than I've loved any character before; that's probably why he was capable of so thoroughly breaking my heart. I wanted so much for him, I wanted him to be so much and get so much in life. He didn't get all that I wanted for him, but in the end, I was satisfied with where he ended up and it seemed fitting and very real.

I hate the term "triggers", but it's appropriate here. I have a few triggers of my own and they were part of this book, but I felt the writing here just brought me into those places that I don't like to go and left me, not upset or feeling traumatized, but more appreciative of my own ability to survive and thrive. I wanted to reach into the book and take Jude's hand and tell him we'd get through it together.

This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you're up to it, you'll be thrilled by the writing. There's pain here, and beauty along with it.

Big thanks to Alona for the many messages we exchanged while reading this. It sounds silly, but I feel as if the two of us have survived something together.

Profile Image for Ali Goodwin.
171 reviews17.2k followers
February 27, 2023
Where to even begin reviewing this book? I just finished this book today, and I am so emotionally drained it's hard to put my thoughts into words.

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be devastating. This book is heartbreaking and emotional and full of so much trauma. The main character Jude suffers trauma after trauma after trauma, which the author describes in heartbreaking detail.

Despite this book's emotional pain, there are moments of hope, beautiful characters, and loving relationships. Maybe the coolest part of this book is that we follow Jude through his entire life. I have never ever read a book before where we get such a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of our main character's life.

If you choose to read this book, proceed with extreme caution. There are so many trigger warnings, and it is such an emotional read, but if you feel that you are in the right headspace to read it, it will be a worthwhile read on trauma and friendship.

And to Jude: you deserved so much better
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,021 reviews97 followers
September 28, 2017
Please visit my blog www.readrantrockandroll.com to see this review and others.

I decided to spend some of my weekend, which turned out to be all day today, catching up on some reading. I started A Little Life sometime in January, but had to put it down a few times due to time restrictions on other books. Plus, this book is colossal. It's a smidge over 700 pages.

I'll start by saying that I can't recollect the last time I felt so connected to characters in a story. I was so consumed with the four main characters seeing as how it's nearly impossible not to fall in love with them, especially Jude and Willem. ♡ They're so complex, it feels like you're living the story and you're associating with all of them.

I cried a few times, and laughed a few times. The further I read, the more shocked I became, ending with a feeling of devastation. With that said, I thought it was written well and it kept my interest. There were a few times I put it down and walked away, but I had to come back. 

I remember the first time I saw "Million Dollar Baby" with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. I was sick about that movie for more than a day. In fact, the next day I still felt depressed. Well, that's exactly how I'm feeling right now. Don't get me wrong, I loved this book, but it's going to take me a few days to get over it and I'll never forget it.

Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,641 followers
March 21, 2018
DNF @ 50%

(Keep in mind 50% of this behemoth is around 370 pages)

I give up. I can't do it anymore. I can't pick this book up and continue reading when every page is so painful. I can handle angst and drama-- and enjoy it most of the time! But this was ridiculous.

I strongly caution those with chronic illness, mental illness or disability be very wary of this book

Because it's not angst. It's torture porn at the disabled character's expense.

This is the story of three incredibly selfish "friends" who are mostly so pretentious they don't even resemble real people.

"None of them really wanted to listen to someone else's story anyway, they only wanted to tell their own."

^this consistent determination to be the center of attention is not friendship. It's selfish and down right narcissistic. It meant these "friends" consistently saw their friend struggling and never reach out or intervene.

Even worse, Jude's 'suffering in silence' is glorified. This deals with extremely sensitive topics (this entire book is a trigger warning) such as rape, chronic pain, self harm, and suicide. It's obvious from the first chapter that Jude is suffering and his mental health continues to deteriorate-- but he never asks for help and his friends never intervene. In fact, those who reach out or 'complain' are seen by the main characters as 'whiny' or 'crazy.' This establishes the extremely harmful narrative that asking for help makes you an annoyance.

It's not accurate. It's not how friendship works. There's nothing noble about suffering alone. Friends support each other and if you need help it's okay to ask for it.

Beyond that, it's not even particularly well written. The character's main traits are their selfishness and pretentiousness, and other than that they fall painfully flat. The characters are essentially pawns for these heavy plot devices.

Because those heavy topics I mentioned earlier? The sexual assault and chronic illness? That's all they are here-- plot devices so we can watch as things get worse and worse and worse and see characters lose the will to live.

There's even an interview where the author brags about doing very little research:

"No, I didn’t do any research; Jude came to me fully formed, and writing his sections were always the easiest. He’s a very consistent character — or is meant to be — which is, arguably, part of what dooms him."

Also where we see why her characters lack emotional depth (because all men do, silly!)

"I am not that interested in abuse really. But what I am interested in as a writer is the long-term effect it has, particularly in men. I think women grow up almost prepared for it in a way...

But I do think that men, almost uniformly, no matter their race or cultural affiliations or religion or sexuality, are equipped with a far more limited emotional toolbox.


"I hope that the narrative’s momentum and suspense comes from the reader’s growing recognition — and [spoiler's] — that he’s too damaged to ever truly be repaired, and that there’s a single inevitable ending for him."

I can't tell you how harmful it is to present this narrative that people can be "too damaged" and (slight spoilers?) that suicide is the only answer. It's not just incredibly misguided it's actually incredibly damaging.

In summary: this is a book where the main character is applauded for suffering quietly. It establishes a narrative where he can't ask for help-- and then sadistically pushes the story to a tragic ending. Because why? Because art?

Buddy Read with Faye!
Profile Image for Maggie Stiefvater.
Author 81 books168k followers
December 22, 2020
Gave it a shot; not for me, although it may work well for others as the prose is quite inviting and the world dense and inhabited. Felt as if it possibly veered a little too far towards voyeurism and far from truth-telling, which, with the subject matter, wasn't an equation that worked for me.
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