A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I feel like I must be very clear here. I never minded the writing. The writing was clear, evocative, and seemed to always have a lot of emotional turmoil and ongoing conflict -- enough to scream soap opera drama from the skies.
I read it because of all the award nominations and my feed blowing up about how brilliant it is, too. I always try to spread my wings a little bit and go for pieces that are not my usual fare.
So why DID I get halfway through this enormously long book and then decide I'd had enough?
I just didn't care.
Yes, it's nice and all to see such a loving gay couple going through the sexual ringer, having apparently awesome gay friends, learning about their lives and troubles and careers, and watching them be supportive (or not) to each other, jumping up and down the timeline of a whole life so that we KNOW what is to come but have all the in-between bits get more and more reveals, etc., but after a certain point I am OVER the DRAMA. A shorter, MUCH shorter book would have been fine.
But let's put it this way: after 45 references to cutting oneself, 32 references to being long-term sexual abuse in a conversion facility, what seems to be DECADES of self-loathing, regret, and mourning, and then what seems to be the END then just makes me realize that there is YET MORE TO COME.
I'm sitting here, never a big fan of Drama to begin with, being tortured with characters that only slightly tug on my heartstrings, and realizing that this slow-moving, endless slice-of-life drama is never going to end. Or at least it feels like it's never going to end. And this is where I have to ask myself, "Why am I putting myself through this?"
So, I'm sorry, Hanya Yanagihara, it's me. Not you. I already suffer from enough social anxiety and depression in my own life. I'm done.
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