Reviews

A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

springawakening's review

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dark emotional sad medium-paced

4.0

ajk15's review

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challenging dark emotional hopeful informative reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

This book fucking crushed me. You grow to both love and loathe the characters but you have so much compassion and empathy for them as well. Just a heartbreaking story about some very real, raw, emotional stories and people 

the_real_bobo's review

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challenging dark emotional sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

jupman's review

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5.0

genuinely one of the best books i've read this year. a little life is practically 800 pages of pure depression and trauma, and it was a really well written one at that. i don't understand people who are giving it low ratings just because it was so sad, and there was so much suffering, because that's the point.

i remember when i first started it, i began complaining about certain characters who i already began to dislike, and would become emotionally involved in the characterization of them. however, as you continue, you begin to realize this book isn't about the audience, or anyone else. it's about jude. it's about everything he goes through. it's about his life, and nothing much more. hanya yanaghira truly deep dives into him, showing us his thoughts and processes- leaving nothing out. leaving nothing out except the ending, which is one of my favorite parts of the book. the ending allows you to realize what this book was truly trying to accomplish- jude, and loving jude, and understanding jude, and not understanding jude and feeling angry for judge and a lot more.

i also wanted to say that sometimes i don't like endings to books, or the length of books as some are too short or too long, or too wordy or there's not enough depth. but a little life is literally perfect. as i read jude's life from colleges to his 50s, i felt like i aged with him. hanya knows how to write something and completely immerse the reader into her words.

i'm looking forward to reading more of her works because a little life was literally amazing. if you're interested in reading it though, here's a list of trigger warnings because this book is really dense with material: ableism (violent), child abandonment, child abuse, child death, child molestation, child rape, drug abuse, domestic violence/abuse, eating disorder, emotional abuse, gaslighting, grooming, manipulation, pedophilia, physical abuse, prostitution, racism, rape, self harm (graphic), sexual abuse, sexual assault, suicide ideation, suicide, and transphobia (misgendering)

willce's review

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Got busy with moving. Hope to start again. 

jsxreads's review

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5.0

me texting my friends @ 1.58am: I’ve been crying for 100 pages and I just cannot seem to stop, like the tears just won’t stop falling at this point and I’ve gone through so much tissue ?? like its full on snot crying. but my heart hurts, my heart hurts so so much.

pretty much just sobbed - non-stop - from the axiom of equality until the well dried up and I ran out of tears to shed by the end.

me texting my friends @ 18.59pm: I just finished a little life. I lie; a little life just finished me.

feeling sad, heartbroken and helpless right now. what a beautiful, poignant, utterly heart wrenching story, I’ll never forget this read.

p.s. I do not have the words (nor the energy on account of being all emptied out to find the words) to put together a proper review just yet but I can’t leave without saying that the chance of me ever forgiving hanya yanagihara for naming that chapter ‘the happy years’ is zero.

samaralnufaie's review

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2.0

One of the silliest books I’ve read in a while.

Somewhere around the Caleb incident the angst was so forced and indulgent it turned comical & the characters felt more like caricatures than people I could empathize & feel for.

Also, reading through & realizing at some point that a female author was writing an 800+ page book without a SINGLE influential female character & a world revolving almost exclusively around gay men quickly killed any enjoyment I was seeking in the first half of the book…

2 stars just because I actually enjoyed the first 200 pages & the writing is engaging.

shoopminie's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

isalena's review against another edition

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5.0

this book broke my heart in a thousand little pieces...

thewrightsage's review

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5.0

I cannot recommend this book enough. Yanagihara truly created a masterpiece that I hope will continue to be read for a long time to come.

Score Breakdown:
3 points for the incredible depth found in every character.
1 point for the seamless passing of time
1 point for leaving me feeling something long after the pages stopped.
Total: 5/5
Extremely recommended.