A Little Life (book review)

Brooke Peckman , Staff Writer

Jude’s past haunts him. His earliest memories begin with being left to fend for himself as an infant. Believe it or not, this is one of his better childhood experiences. Every moment proceeding this event in his life has progressively given him more and more scars to the point where he is traumatized. Once Jude is of age, he tries to better his life by going to a good college and moving to a place where no one knows his name. This plan works out even better than he thought it would, because in his first year in college he meets three people who become his life long friends. Almost immediately, they formed a bond like no other, but Jude’s extreme insecurities about the way he looks and acts prevent him from putting himself in social situations. His past — still vivid in his mind — is an unspoken barrier that keeps his chosen family from truly getting to know him, since he cannot bring himself to talk about what he went through. 

The novel “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara is a beautifully written story which follows four college friends throughout their lives, but focuses on the main character, Jude. I loved this book because the story was consuming and captivating. Once I picked it up, I was unable to put it down. As readers, we are given such insight into each character’s mind in a way that feels as if they are speaking directly to you. On the other hand, this book does deal with some very difficult topics that some may find uncomfortable to read about. Before diving into this story, I would suggest looking at the description of the topics that may be mentioned in order to better understand what the book discusses. Aside from the length (814 pages) and heavy topics, this novel was incredible, and along the way, we are unknowingly taught about the impact of one, singular, little life.