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A Little Life
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GROUP READS > September FICTION selection A LITTLE LIFE

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Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
This month, we will be reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

From goodreads:
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cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.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.

Who will be reading this this month? Or who has already read it, and what are your thoughts? I've have to admit, this moving book made it to my favorites shelf a couple of years ago. It can a bit harrowing at times, yet always beautiful. I hope you will all give it a read and join in the discussion.


message 2: by El (new) - added it

El | 756 comments Mod
I'm planning on reading it! I found my copy in my stacks and set it aside. I hope to start before I go back to work on Tuesday. I've been wanting to read this for a while. (Got a copy of the book, a tote bag inspired by the book, and a free ticket to see the author a few years back. That's how long I've been wanting to read this! Also, highly recommend seeing Yanagihara in person if any of you get the chance. She's delightful.)


message 3: by El (new) - added it

El | 756 comments Mod
I'm only about 50 pages in and already, wow. I'm not loving it yet (way too early for that!) but I love how we are slowly introduced to the different characters and their backstories.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
I started reading this as well. Her writing is just wonderful. It's been a long time since I've reread a book, and I'm not dissappointed so far. I know that father on, the plot really begins to revolve around a specific character (I'm being vague trying not to spoil anything), but i find that I'm really getting more out of the character development of all of them this second time around. There are essential character flaws and traits here in the beginning that add so much depth to this book, that rereading make me mumble, "of course," or "hmm," to myself. Yanagihara wrote these characters so well.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
I can't stop reading this book. Even though sometimes it makes me so sad that I'm pretty sure I'm sinking into some level of depression. Part 2 was very dark... I came here to see of anyone had anything to say, but since no one did, I didn't comment. Maybe because everyone feels like what is there to say except... whoa, or oof.

I just finished part 3, which was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Sometimes the time gets away from me, and it isn't until the narrative has shifted to someone else and there is a passing remembrance of something that happened at "the wedding" that I realize, oh! They were just thinking about getting married a few chapters ago and now this is a years-ago memory.

This latest incident dealing with JB, again, I'm being vague (view spoiler) was so maddening. I can see it and it just crushes me. From a book. This book gets to me and all I can say is that Hanya Yanagihara is a magician with words and descriptions. And there are a lot of dark and ugly things too that she describes with her magical vividness...


message 6: by El (new) - added it

El | 756 comments Mod
I'm just a bit behind - I have started Part 2 and have some inkling about the darkness in the works h ere, but I'm having difficulty actually sitting down and reading this book (most likely since I'm especially busy again). It's quality writing but it's just SO MUCH writing... something I never thought I would actually say, haha. I am eager to see where the whole story goes, so I'm definitely going to keep with it.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
El wrote: "I'm just a bit behind - I have started Part 2 and have some inkling about the darkness in the works h ere, but I'm having difficulty actually sitting down and reading this book (most likely since I..."

I was looking through my notes and saw that it took me nearly a month to read this my first time. I totally understand what you mean.


message 8: by Anita (last edited Sep 24, 2019 09:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
I finished. A few days ago now. It still remains on my favorite shelf, although I'm a little confused about who I was four years ago because this story hit me very hard, emotionally. My notes from my first read indicate that I thought Yanagihara was elusive with details and explicit writing of a lot of the trauma, but... it's all painfully there in the book. I'm not sure what kind of mindset I was in. Although at the time, I believe I was also reading a lot of war related non-fiction.

I'm also a bit horrified that one of my biggest takeaways this time was Jude's ceaseless depression. Not at all did I even consider it before, but now it's so blatantly apparent that Jude lives his entire life with severe depression, and seeing the ways he chooses to cope is really horrifying. The thought actually crossed my mind that this might not be a healthy book for some people to read because of the abundance of self harm, cutting.

I haven't read any of Yanagihara's other work, but I'm convinced she is one of the most talented writers I've read. Her writing is just beautiful and even though I've read it before, I felt like I experienced it like new.


Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 375 comments Mod
How is everyone doing on this read?

Does anyone resonate with any of the friends? Or do any of them draw you in more than the others?

What do you think makes this book F-Word worthy?

Do you have any thoughts to share on the book or author?


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