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Archived 2016 Group Reads > A Little Life - Part VI - Dear Comrade

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message 1: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 1263 comments Post any thoughts on Part VI here :)


message 2: by Ami (last edited Aug 05, 2016 05:14AM) (new)

Ami I've finished this novel, so I'll save the bulk of my thoughts for the final thread talking about the novel as a whole.

Experiencing immense grief from the traumatic loss of Willem and then learning of Andy's retirement from his practice set in motion more turbulent times for Jude, his friends and family. The aftermath was none too kind to Jude, but why would I expect it to be. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, life is cruel and so is this book...Relentless, it is. This kid, nor the reader (me) just can't seem to catch a break. So, to my surprise, when reading of the intervention; well, my heart sank yet I found myself beaming in relief..."Yes, he's finally going to get some real help...He's going to get a "little" better! It was not going to be an easy road, but Jude in the end submitted to the plan set out before him...He wakes up to find himself in the hospital and in restraints, how could he not have thrown his arms up in the air and given in. Literally, he had no choice. I was relieved for him, and at the same time, was drawn into Jude's eternal plight...He has had every aspect of his mind and body, his self taken from him. From his childhood, to experiences beyond his control, he says they can have it; but the one thing nobody can have is the ability to control his life, that would be the one thing Jude would keep for himself. It was good to see the light at the end of the tunnel remain steadfast because he was getting better. Yes, it was tough to read about him going through the motions of his recovery lacking any real life or zeal. Of course, he was no longer living for himself, he was just pacifying those who were close to him. However, I was most surprised to see that Jude would choose to live, and choose to continue therapy on his own accord at the end of the chapter when he went back into the office of the therapist instead of exiting the building.


message 3: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catsmeeow) Yes I was glad to see Jude committed. Both times have been when he was seriously trying to kill himself and I think it makes sense that's when he's been committed. His friends and family are always watching over him even when he thinks he's all alone.

The scene with Harold and Julia and the sandwich was the most touching for me. Even in the face of all evidence that they love him, Jude believes the worst will happen eventually. He cut to get rid of his feelings and anger but what if he had his tantrum earlier. I wonder if he would have had a chance to see Harold and Julia react with love instead of anger years ago and been and to give that healthy attachment to parents, if he would have been much happier.

On to the last bit!


message 4: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 1263 comments I think ultimately Jude died with Willem. He lost the will to live, he went through the motions for those who cared about him. At this point he had become utterly dependent on Jude, and when he was gone Jude became utterly listless and lost.


message 5: by Ami (new)

Ami Dianne wrote: "I think ultimately Jude died with Willem. He lost the will to live, he went through the motions for those who cared about him. At this point he had become utterly dependent on Jude, and when he was..."

I think he died every time he was sexually assaulted.


message 6: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 1263 comments Ami wrote: "Dianne wrote: "I think ultimately Jude died with Willem. He lost the will to live, he went through the motions for those who cared about him. At this point he had become utterly dependent on Jude, ..."

At this point in his life, I think he was inured to this type of abuse. ie, he 'died' long ago with respect to this aspect of his life. That's why he was utterly unable to have a normal sexual aspect to his life as an adult, he had shut down that part of himself long ago. Yet he had no self esteem, and felt like he had to submit in order to keep the relationships he was in because that is what 'normal' people did


message 7: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments The first half of this section was actually very uplifting to me, because it's the most "normal" Jude has been from the very beginning. He grieves in very normal ways, from keeping Willem's scent in the clothes, to all the little reminders that make him think of Willem, to the body pillow, to the dates and years remembered.... so, so normal, and healthy. He has the added pressure though of having been with someone famous, so not only is he grieving, but he's having to look at many extra reminders outside his own world because the rest of the world is remembering the loss as well. It gives me pause when I think of how often we take on the grieving of a celebrity's death as if it's something personal...forgetting those who TRULY experience the daily loss.

Once Jude gets to where he's starving himself, however, it ceases to be normal grieving, even for a celebrity relationship. He just reverts back to all of his old unhealthiness.

I was so glad to see the forced intervention, of making him deal with it. But it felt bittersweet, because I couldn't help but wonder if they had just forced him to do that 20 or 30 years ago, how very much different the rest of his life might have been, even after all the horrible things in his early life? And yet, maybe Jude is just one of those people that HAS to do everything the hard way, including recovery, because he just can't do anything easy. Part of that is forced on him, but part of that might have been his very nature to begin with.

I was so touched by the scene with Harold and Julia. It's literally taken until that final moment for Jude to realize that literally no matter WHAT he does, they are going to love him. Always. End of story. What that must have meant to him! And I wonder if it takes him until right at that moment to fully realize the significance of JB's painting of Willem, to comprehend that Jude was the one person, one thing, in his life, that truly made him happy above all else. He just can't seem to ever grasp that...but maybe now he can. Maybe his therapist can finally help him see that, now that he's willing to try to work through it.


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