Top positive review
I feel proud to have survived this book!
Reviewed in Australia on 22 July 2016
Wow! Where to start, and what to say about this book that hasn't already been said... Hand-on-heart, "A Little Life" is both the best and worst book I've ever read! A super-heavyweight novel, it should come with a health warning. It should be compulsory reading for anyone who has committed any form of abuse on a fellow human (or animal, come to that...). In fact, their victims should be given the opportunity to read it to them from a safe distance.
If like me, your mind has a mind of its own, take good care of yourself while reading this book. Take a break with something lighter, particularly if you're prone to nightmares and insomnia.
I read one of Hanya Yanagihara's interview, in which she stated her goal with "A Little Life" was to turn everything up to just beyond normal tolerance. Well, she absolutely succeeded! This book consumed me as fast as I could consume it, so much so that it took me a full two months to read. As an abuse victim and longstanding PTSD "survivor" (NOT!), there were many times I couldn't continue reading the intensity of situations described. Not only are they graphic and horrifying, but sadly they are also utterly accurate.
On the more optimistic side, "A Little Life" is a love story on so many levels. There is a huge amount of kindness in the world, although it sometimes doesn't feel like it. I found myself communing with Harold and Julia, with Doctor Andy, and of course with Willem and Jude.
A very long book - my favourite kind! - the language is dense, meandering and demanding of concentration. After paragraphs and paragraphs of sharing Jude's agonies, Ms Yanagihara almost glosses over the most significant events. Several times I would turn a page and say, "Wait a minute! What just happened? OMG, OMG, OMG!"
I feel proud to have survived this book.