You guys. What did Yanagihara do to me.
I cried my eyes out. For like two hours. I’ve only ever cried for a book once before (that review can be found here) but that was like 4 tears and it was because I was fighting with my best friend.
This one rocked my whole world.
It’s a story of Jude, who has a mysterious but obviously incredibly awful past. He and his three BFFs graduate college and try to make it in the ‘real world.’ This book spans decades, marriages, addictions, career changes, deaths, everything that comes with living. Except most books don’t ruin my life like this one did.
It’s like when you’re baking cupcakes, and you fill all the little tins up and there’s one left. But you don’t have a lot of batter left so you have really scrape the sides over and over and over to get everything out until the bowl is totally empty.
After that read, Yanagihara is the baker and I am the bowl.
Not because I was depressed about my life. I know a few people who read this book and they were like life is meaningless. I DO NOT feel that way. And I hope they were exaggerating. Although after that read, probably not.
I felt so sad and upset because the people, the adults and protectors, hurt Jude over and over and over. And over. Making the first 16-ish years of his life literal hell. No one should have to endure any part of it, much less the whole thing. And what was worse, he believed everything they told him about himself.
It’s frustrating that he doesn’t believe the good things. But after his history, you can hardly blame him.
Also I hate Brother Luke more than any character I’ve ever read ever. Yanagihara has some dark stuff going on.
If that wasn’t enough, the real kicker is that this sort of thing happens to real people. They get hurt by people who are supposed to love and protect them. They’re abused by people who take advantage of a broken system. And they believe the lies they’re told. Then, they feel like there’s no escape. That’s what still breaks my hearts days after I finished the book.
Which I did in two days btw.
I don’t think the plot was perfect. And while I am 100% definitely not a queer literature expert, it did seem weird that everyone was gay. And actually no one was gay except one guy. Then even when one guy was in a committed relationship exclusively with a man, he was like I’m not gay. I don’t know anything about Yanagihara or why they choose to write it like that?
But honestly when I wasn’t being shredded into tiny ribbons, I could acknowledge that it was a beautiful book. With stunning writing and beautiful characters. Even the messy ones.
Yanagihara’s non linear story telling and multiple narrators take some getting used to, but I think they enhance the story instead of detracting from it.
And while I am glad that I read the book and I thought it was a beautiful read, I don’t actually recommend it to everyone. It’s pretty tough. And could be an incredibly trigging book.