Just finished reading the book "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara, and feel the need to write something while it's still fresh in my mind..... although it may remain "fresh" forever.
This is not a book for the timid, the impatient, or those who like happy stories with happy endings. At 720 pages, it takes some endurance to read and, with every new chapter, we learn a bit more about lives - and especially one life - that are filled with tragedy and abuse almost beyond comprehension. As such, this is a graphic story about the corruption of our human spirit, and it sometimes takes courage just to turn to the next page.
But it is also a story about the power of friendship and love to heal some of the damage that is brought upon us, that we bring upon each other, and that we bring upon ourselves too..... (but the damage we do to ourselves is the hardest to heal.) I want to believe that true love and friendship, when fully given and received, can heal all wounds. As the main character's adopted father tells his adopted son:
“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”
But, while many, many wounds are healed through amazing expressions and relationships of love in this book, some are not. I cried over and over again, both for the damage done and for the healing love..... but mostly for when the damage was too great, where even love was not enough.
I think this book is about our own lives, on steroids so we don't miss what is more muted in our own day to day, so we can more clearly see the ways in which our lives connect and collide with each other in both damaging and healing ways, so we might choose to heal and love as much as we can.