A review by jupman
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

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)