For someone that reads a book a week on average, this Bookie Boomer Review was a long time coming. I was so busy reading I neglected to share. During the long winter nights I managed to watch a few movies as well. I prefer my movies funny, romantic, adventurous, and dramatic. I really don’t enjoy tragic, violent, scary or sad. When it comes to books however, my tolerance seems to expand .. the fine lines blurred.
ROOM was one of those films that I found difficult to watch. I had to continuously take a break or hide my eyes. The film was based on the 2010 novel by Irish-Canadian Emma Donahue who was inspired to write the book after hearing about the disturbing (true) Fritzi case in Austria. After seeing the movie, I don’t think I could read the book. Brie Larson definitely deserved the Oscar for Best Actress. She was so believable I ended up bent over and crying in the ladies room!
Maybe reading a book before you see the movie is the way to go? Somehow, experiencing trauma in the written word seems … well … less traumatic. Perhaps because we give ourselves more time to absorb the nuances, set the scene and create an intimacy with the characters. Maybe we need the time it takes to read a book to come to terms with the immensity of emotions that a tragic story evokes?
Sometimes, albeit rarely, tragedy holds some form of beauty. The novel A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara achieves that delicate balance that leaves the reader both disgusted and deeply in love with the story of a damaged life.
Perhaps it’s the undying and troubled love that transpires between the characters, or the sheer tenacity for life, even if that entails living with physical and emotional scars beyond repair.
A Little Life follows the decades long friendships between Willem, the actor and gentle soul, JB the troubled artist with addictions, Malcolm the confused and internally frustrated architect from a wealthy family, and Jude the successful high powered lawyer and protagonist. Jude is at the center of a journey that entwines the friends, and the readers, into a twisted world and undisclosed past.
No spoilers, but I will tell you that once you start reading this 720 page novel, you will not be able to put it down. A Little Life was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and is the second novel by American Writer Hanya Yanagihara who is also Deputy Editor at T Magazine for the New York Times.
Interestingly enough, ROOM was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2010. If A Little Life someday becomes a film, I am not sure if I would see it? When it comes to disturbing subjects … I think I will stick with my books!