I couldn’t get into it until about 200 pages in. Usually I’ve given up (or finished) by then, but I am quite stubborn about completing books and I was enjoying the writing, so this kept me going.
Why you should read this book:
- It is harrowing – truly that is the word. Jude emerges as the central character in a four friend circle, and you will be drawn into and shocked by these lives, their joy and pain.
- It is long - at over 720 pages, the author has time to build these characters up and they become a part of your little life – the length cleverly showing that building relationships takes time and is worthwhile.
- It will consume you. You will read late into the night, and put down work to read it. You may do little else but read for a few days.
- It is about friendship. Relating and connecting with others who are broken. And this part is superbly written.
- It was nominated for a Man Booker and received many other literary awards.
Why you shouldn’t read this book:
- It is harrowing – it is very difficult to say that you enjoyed this book, or to recommend it to loved ones.
- It is long - really, did it need that many pages to build those characters? And the length does make it a little dull.
- It will consume you. You will not get much life done once you are hooked, other than compulsive reading, which I always think is doing a lot.
- It is about friendship. It will tear you apart, and leave you desperate at times. Not always in a good way.
- It was nominated for a Man Booker – really? Read the list of the nominees and the winners – who chooses these books?
In summary, Yanagihara’s intimate portrait of the agony and the ecstasy of human relationships, in all their glory and all their brokenness, is worth a read. You need to be strong, and you need to persevere. This is not a recommendation, but you will never forget this book. You have been warned.
4 out of 5 stars
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