A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – book review


When I first saw this novel I only skimmed the blurb and already knew that I needed this. For some reason, the cover wasn’t that attractive yet it caught my attention; it wasn’t the copy I have up there, it’s the one with a photo of an apartment inside the letters of ‘A Little Life’.

I can’t talk about this book without tears welling up in my eyes. I’m a goner from the first page until the very end. This book has the type of characters you’d want to meet before you die.

UPDATE: By that, rather than studying for my upcoming exams let me just talk about the characters: Malcolm is the sweet and loyal one, in a way that reminds you of a puppy. He’s smart, very underestimated, and may seem boring but don’t be fooled, he can surprise you. JB is headstrong, protective and almost often so full of himself. He’s blunt but he means well, and he’ll never give up on you. Willem is so charismatic, he’s an all-around good guy. If anyone needs his help, he will offer it anytime, anywhere, and go to great lengths all for his friends. He’s trustworthy and he’s always humble; he’s a keeper. Jude is enigmatic to the point that he’s not aware when people are worried about him. He’s gone through a lot but he still tries to remain optimistic. He’s an excellent listener, an excellent cook, he practically excels in everything though he doesn’t notice. Then there are friends and families of theirs that are just as wonderful but that’s for another day.

They aren’t perfect, they’re full of mistakes and flaws just like any other person but they genuinely care for each other, their friendship is what keeps them together–it’s their pillar, their anchor–despite horrible episodes and unfathomable secrets.

I loved seeing that, I loved getting a glimpse of something that would seem ordinary yet if you look closely it’s actually more than ordinary, it’s simple though it’s complex. I’m not making sense, I really can’t talk about this book without babbling like a fool.

I’d describe what I’ve read if I could only think of a word that would encompass everything I’ve felt but I have no words. It’s heartwarming, it’s heartbreaking. It’s all about the little things that made it into something more. I’d recommend this to someone with a strong stomach and an iron heart–they’re necessary. I could go on and on about this; I could talk about the matter-of-fact conversations of Jude and Malcolm, the artistic flair of JB or the diverse films and plays of Willem however, it still wouldn’t change the fact that all the sad songs in the world would still remind me of this book; it’s as if this is an ex I couldn’t let go of–and wouldn’t let go.


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