REVIEW: A Little Life

“Life is so sad, he would think in those moments. It’s so sad, and yet we all do it.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I always love a good challenge and I love pushing myself to try things that will take me out of my comfort zone. So when I saw everyone reading A Little Life, I knew that if I only read one book this month, it had to be this one.

“Wasn’t friendship it’s own miracle, finding another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely.”

What Did I Think?

A Little Life is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster but I knew what I was getting myself in for before opening up its pages. When I finished the book, I was seemingly OK, yet after telling my boyfriend that I’d just finished the book, the FLOOD of tears just came. All of a sudden I was a blubbering mess, having taken the time to reminisce on what I had just read/experienced. 

The book follows the life of tortured soul Jude St Francis, who goes throughout life suffering from his experience as an orphaned boy. It’s hard to sum up the story without spoiling it all for you, but the story starts by following four friends and throughout the book we follow how their friendship evolves, with the focusing shifting more towards two of the boys, Williem and Jude. 

Friendship is such a huge factor in the book, and I’m glad that Jude had so many supportive people around him. Although he had an awful start in life, you join his story when things begin to look up for him, but as with any heartbreaking story, it’s not always happy forever. 

I was nervous about reading this book because it is over 700 pages, but I never felt at any point that the story was dragging or I was becoming uninterested. The story is so encapsulating that I was hooked on every page which really and pleasantly surprised me. 

Jude experienced a life full of suffering and his story, albeit fictional, has made me aware of the different ways people deal with trauma; especially childhood trauma which we are too young to process at the time. Suffering, especially when it comes to mental health, can take many different shapes and forms, and if anything this book has made me understand and empathise with those whose history and hurtful memories affects their personality and the way they live for years later. 

Before I go, let me just say that if you are thinking of reading this book, I need to warn you that there are EXTREMELY distressing and difficult moments within the story. So much so, I couldn’t go straight to sleep after reading this book in case I had nightmares. Thankfully, I have read distressing content like this before so I could in a way, process it. However, if you haven’t read anything distressing before, I can imagine it is an incredibly difficult read so just be aware.

“There’s no expiration date on needing help, or needing people. You don’t get to a certain age and it stops.”

A Little Life

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Publisher: Picador
Published: 2016
# of Pages: 720
Genre: Contemporary, Queer Fiction
Trigger Warnings: sexual abuse, child abuse, violence, prostitution, violence, self-harm, explicit scenes, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, medical pain, amputation, Stockholm syndrome, depression, suicide, death, grief
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Blackwells

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