Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara...

How I Heard About It:  I saw a tweet by Andy Cohen that he was reading this novel and was obsessed by the book.  I looked it up and read some reviews and knew that I had to read this book.  

What It Is About:  Weighing in at 720 pages, this is a masterpiece of fiction writing at its best.  Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcolm meet at college on the east coast and become fast friends.  The four of them move to New York City after college to begin their "real" lives and their careers.  Jude becomes a lawyer, Willem becomes a famous actor, JB a famous artist, and Malcolm a successful architect.  As they navigate their way through these earlier years and share their pasts, they realize that Jude is pretty quiet when it comes to his upbringing.  Jude has tried very hard to escape his past and get on with his life as his three friends have done.  This turns out not to be quite so easy.  His past will always be a part of who he is, and Jude finds very "destructive" ways to keep his present life and past life from coming together.  The story follows these four men from their college days, to the start-up of their careers, to finding success as full-fledged adults.  The plot switches between Jude as an adult and the experiences he had to endure as a child and young boy.

What I Thought Of It:  I finished this book several hours ago and my heart is still hurting from this powerful story.  The story begins "nice" and "slow" introducing the reader to the four college men.  As I got further into the book, I realized what I was reading was not going to be your typical fiction story.  I got to the point where I could not stop reading.  I was becoming emotionally invested with not only Jude, but the other three characters as well.  There were several times when I actually cried and almost couldn't continue reading.  The subject matter wasn't always easy to read, but I knew this story had to be told.  Jude became someone that I truly cared about and felt like he was actually in my life.  The last fourth of the book had me completely spellbound and emotionally devastated by the unraveling of Jude's story.  I'm trying to put into words how I feel about this book, but I don't think I'm doing it justice.  This book has become one of my top three adult novels that I've read in my life.

Who Should Read It:  I personally want everyone to read this book, but I know it isn't for everyone. The length alone will scare off some readers, but don't let it.  The beginning of the story is a bit slow and a tad confusing, but once the reader hits about page 100, everything really falls into place.  The subject matter is really tough and is difficult to read, but the writing is top-notch and done in a very sensitive way.  Obviously this is a very adult novel.  I highly recommend you read it and experience a story like no other.  I usually end with "Happy Reading", but that doesn't fit here.  This isn't a happy read, but one that will forever change you as a reader.

Rating:  5+ STARS out of 5 Stars

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