Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I’ve never had an experience with a book the way I did with ‘A Little Life’. Ever. I will never forget how I felt reading it. The characters will stay with me. Oh how they’ll stay with me.

“And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.”
– Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life


5 disco balls

Publish Date: March 10, 2015 by Doubleday, reprint January 26, 2016 by Anchor
The audiobook on Amazon is only $4.95. The narrator Oliver Wyman beautifully brings the characters to life.
Category: Literary Fiction, Contemporary

This book has become one of my top books of all time. It is not an easy read. It is heartbreaking, it’s a gut punch, it steam rolls right over your heart over and over and over. Cue the ugly cries and heavy emotions. It knocks the wind right out of you.

You are probably thinking only a masochist would want to read this after being told all of that. But, there was something so beautiful about author Hanya Yanagihara’s writing. Hauntingly beautiful. To me, the book’s biggest strength is the character development: probably the best I have ever read.

The story follows four best friends from college through adulthood who struggle to find themselves in early adulthood but over time each will find their footing. One of them battles secret demons that debilitate him emotionally and physically. It is a story about friendship; but, not ordinary friendship. A supreme friendship so connected that without it one is not whole, but lost. Friendship that gives one breathe: a reason.

I purchased both the paperback (814 pages) and audiobook (32 hours at 1.25x pace!) and found myself listening to the audiobook while reading along with my actual book. I’m normally not very fond of audiobooks versus actual reading, but the narrator, Oliver Wyman, gave a voice to each of these characters and it felt that much more real when we read along together. It was like having a reading companion, and with this book you need one.

The #bookstagram community was extra supportive when they learned I was reading this book and would check in with me from time to time, as they knew the emotional rollercoaster I was experiencing and what I still had left ahead. If you are going to read the book – please let me know – I would love to hear from you. I try my best not to give story lines away, but if you are concerned about triggers send me a message and I will let you know what you can expect.

I don’t know about you, but I need music when I am extra emotional so I created an ‘All the Feels’ Spotify playlist after I finished A Little Life. I am still processing my feelings and diving into these songs brings the book back to me: the good, the bad, and the ugly (but it helps).


Shout out to Katie – my booksta bestie – at @the_grateful_read who brought this book into my life. XO

If you also read ‘A Little Life’ do you still miss these characters as much as I do?

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

You may also find me here:
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Please note: this post contains Amazon and B&N affiliate links. If you purchase this book through the links above I will earn a small fee; at no additional cost to you. This will help me purchase more books to read and recommend to you all!

41 thoughts on “Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

  1. Great review Nikki, I heard amazing reviews of this book and it does look and sounds like a very emotional and powerful book. I’m so glad and happy you love this book, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

    Liked by 1 person

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