Prince William Public Library System's Reviews > A Little Life

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
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really liked it
bookshelves: adult, audiobook, fiction

Don’t let the title fool you, nothing about this book is little- including the size of it. At over 700 pages, you may be warded off just by looking at it. But, if you are feeling like an over-achiever, you will soon be warded off by the depth of this dark plot. If I told you this book were about four college friends as they age into successful careers as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer respectively, it would sound mundane, perhaps even hard to believe- how did all of them end up with such prolific professions? However, nothing is what it seems when it comes to the lawyer, Jude. His past is filled with horrific abuse which haunts him his entire life. It takes decades before he is able to open up about his traumatic (understatement) past.
Despite the endless tumult you are forced to endure, Yanagihara rewards your readership with her clarity of writing- it is breathtaking. You will feel the character’s pain and frustration. You will be in your room shouting out loud at what happens in those pages. “ No! No! No! No!” You will tell people about the book and they won’t understand why you keep reading it, but you must. Once you start you can’t let go until you find out what becomes of Jude and the poor damaged souls who dare to love him (he doesn’t make it easy.). This book is an experience and you won’t feel the same afterward. I have to warn readers that parts of this book will be difficult to read; specifically there are scenes of sexual abuse to a minor and an adult. There are scenes of self-harm and attempted suicides. If you are like me, you will skim read those portions hoping that they will be over soon; incredulous that an author could create this life.
This isn’t a book that you can say you liked or disliked. It is too multi-faceted to be spoken of in such a binary way. But, if you’ve gotten this far in my recommendation, then you might as well check it out. It also comes in audio which will save you time on reading. I kept my audiobook in the car and listened on my way to and from work and picked up where I left off with my hard-copy. That is how much you will crave this story.

Janelle O.

Click here to find the book at the Prince William County Public Library System.

Click here to find the audiobook at the Prince William County Public Library System.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 23, 2016 – Shelved
May 23, 2016 – Shelved as: adult
May 23, 2016 – Shelved as: audiobook
May 23, 2016 – Shelved as: fiction

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