I finished A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara last week and I haven’t been ready to write about it yet. Honestly, I haven’t been able to write anything since I finished it.
Getting Over a Book.
I really wasn’t ready for it to be over. We all know when we start books that they will end eventually, but sometimes it still takes me by surprise when the last page comes and I have to say goodbye to the characters inside.
This was a whole new level. And to be fair- this is not an easy book. People who get triggered may get triggered by this. It does no shy away from the difficult parts of the character’s story. But the thing about it that kept me there was how little judgement I felt in the story that was being told. The characters were so honest and there was such a chance to feel redemption and love after living through horror.
Anyone who has come in contact with me, including the checkout guy at Vroman’s has had this book waved in their face with me yelling that they must read it right now. I’m nuts about books, but I’m not usually this nuts.
I started with an eBook copy from the library on my Kindle and about 300 pages in, the thought of having to return it horrified me, so I hit Vroman’s and bought the copy in the picture above. I ran through the store to get to the fiction section and I guess I looked fairly intense, since a man stocking books followed me and asked,
“What are you looking for with such focus?”
I held it up and told him I couldn’t bear not having a physical copy. I think he’ll read it. I’ve got two friends reading it now once I told them.
“I think this might be the best thing I’ve ever read.”
That’s a tricky position to be in. They might hate it. It is rough at parts. I don’t want to traumatize people- I know at least one person who had to put it down and couldn’t finish. Thankfully, it wasn’t read on my recommendation, but I get it.
I’m worried now. Worried that there won’t be anything to compare to this. I find a book this good every few years, but even among that select group, this one stands above. It makes me think of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talk when people ask her if she’s afraid her best writing is behind her. Granted, I don’t have nearly the pressure on me with reading that I would with writing, but I do wonder- will I ever read anything I love as much again?
I think this is the wrong question to be asking. I know there is no way to answer it. What I need to focus on is how reading gave me this experience.
How amazing it is that a bundle of paper with words on it can completely shake our world, isn’t it?
Of course, like a little kid I keep looking at my bookshelf and saying “Again, Again!” I want to be picked up and spun upside down again.
Getting over a book is hard, but it isn’t possible without moving on. There’s only one answer for it… read something new.
If you’ve read something wonderful recently or even not so recently, please do share about it in the comments below. Or drop me an email. caroline [at] book-dr [dot] com. Let’s keep the passion for reading going…