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A little life

(56 Posts)
namechanging1 Mon 27-Feb-17 14:46:56

Really enjoyed the beginning.....then it started getting too depressing....I am now about page 500....have started skimming, does it get better? It's too depressing at the moment, and I am starting not to care anymore as it all seems so helpless.
Do I carry on?

Rokerwriter Mon 27-Feb-17 15:00:29

Oh, no namechanging1 I'm just past page 400 and was concerned it was going that way. I'm absolutely absorbed so far and it's in serious danger of becoming my favourite book - but can I cope with this? I'm far too concerned about Jude than someone ought to be in an entirely fictional person.

JennyWreny Mon 27-Feb-17 15:32:58

I loved A Little Life. There's no way I could have stopped reading it - I had to find out what happened to the characters.

Not very helpful - sorry!!!

GeorgeHerbert Mon 27-Feb-17 19:49:26

It is a very difficult book but really worth persevering. I sobbed through the last 100 or so pages but it is probably one of the most moving books I have ever read.

loinnir Tue 28-Feb-17 12:51:58

It gets more depressing - I was willing it to end!

PhoenixRisingSlowly Tue 28-Feb-17 16:39:09

It gets worse BUT it was one of the best books I read last year and I would persevere but maybe intersperse it with an audiobook or another read which is lighter. I still feel profoundly affected by the story and the characters and, 6 months on, it's still with me strongly. A wonderful book but yes, relentless.

heymammy Tue 28-Feb-17 16:52:32

It is harrowing but I loved it. Worth persevering as others have said. I really felt for these characters and there was no way I could have quit before the end.

Carriemac Tue 28-Feb-17 21:46:14

Don't quit it is the most rewarding book, totally absorbing and stayed with me for ages

FernetBranca Tue 28-Feb-17 21:48:16

Ah, I'm in exactly the same position. Gripped by the start and now in the mire of it being bleak. I don't need you to promise me a happy ending but I do need to know it's worth persevering with...

Licketysplits Tue 28-Feb-17 21:50:01

It is so worth it but it totally broke me, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon in bed sobbing, the sorrow in some parts was just too much. I would definitely persevere, but be warned!

parklives Tue 28-Feb-17 22:09:37

But does it just keep getting shitter and shitter? I have given up on a happy ending.....but a moderately not hellish ending is what I need after all the grimness.

I just can't take the grimness been going on a few hundred pages and there's still 200 more to go!

KikiDeliversCakes Tue 28-Feb-17 22:13:26

Um, I guess it could be described as "getting shitter and shitter"...? But it's still by far, the best book I have read in the last 2 years. Bar none.

And I'm relieved to read that other people cried too. Sobbed in fact.

But so beautiful, an amazing piece of writing about love and grief.

Wildernesstips Tue 14-Mar-17 19:15:04

I agree, I started sobbing with about 100 pages to go and didn't really stop until the end. Brilliant book though. Don't give up!

astormgivenflesh Tue 14-Mar-17 19:24:34

I really don't get the hype for this book. I hated it with a passion. It's unrealistic and depressing right until the last page - to me it reminded me of a slightly better written Danielle Steele novel! I feel like it's one of those books no one wants to insult because it deals with MH and non het relationships which so few popular books do so it's being hailed as a fantastic, ground breaking thing even though it's crap 🙁🙁

MariafromMalmo Sat 24-Jun-17 15:06:49

I bought this after all the amazing reviews. I ploughed through it and really don't think it is worth it.

I just didn't believe in them at all. The only character I had any faith in was JB (for all his many and profound faults).
I wanted to believe in Jude but I just didn't. I just didn't believe him.

HolyGhost Sun 25-Jun-17 07:28:41

It's relentless misery porn with Jude's misery quotient getting higher and higher the further you progress.

HolyGhost Sun 25-Jun-17 07:32:44

And parklives, yes, it does keep getting shitter and shitter. Increasing pain, increasing disability and unhappiness, increasingly graphic details of Jude's childhood horrors, and a couple of final kicks in the teeth for him in case the reader didn't quite get it.

Wormulonian Sun 25-Jun-17 10:06:27

I wish I could "unread" it

southeastdweller Sun 25-Jun-17 12:58:56

I don't understand the 'misery porn' criticism confused. These things happen to people all the time so why shouldn't she write about it? I didn't find the book massively harrowing, tbh.

HolyGhost Sun 25-Jun-17 14:24:57


Actually, I'd take issue with the idea that the novel depicts things that 'happen to people all the time.' Child abuse happens appallingly frequently, yes, and of course it has consequences, but I hardly think Jude is representative of any constituency by adding to being abused by priests in an orphan institution, having one of them run away with him and pimp him to truck drivers and getting serious STDs, running away and being abused all over again in a youth centre, then being held captive by a doctor and deliberately run over by him, leading to a life of continual appalling pain, eventual wheelchair use and amputation of both legs, extreme self-harm by burning and cutting, a boyfriend who rapes and beats him and throws him down the stairs, brief happiness with Willem until he has to submit to W's sexual advances, AND then, wham, Willem is killed off in a car crash, after which Jude starves himself and eventually commits suicide.

That's why it's misery porn -- up close, relentless, less interested in any kind of psychological realism than in what sadistic new horrors it can inflict on the same character for the entertainment of readers. It's like The Story of O or the Saw horror films.

southeastdweller Sun 25-Jun-17 16:04:14

Of course the author didn't want to entertain the readers, what an odd thing to say.

HolyGhost Sun 25-Jun-17 18:09:12

So what keeps you reading on for misery after misery?

southeastdweller Sun 25-Jun-17 18:36:51

It's not misery after misery, though. You're overlooking the great things that happened in Jude's life, and the love other people had for him, just to mention two things. Superb characterisation (completely disagree about his psychology in terms of her writing - he felt fully three- dimensional to me) and the empathy I had for Jude also kept me turning the pages.

Also, I never said Jude represents anything. But there are, of course, people out there who do endure what he did, and more, and for some of them too there are no happy endings.

Wormulonian Sun 25-Jun-17 18:52:13

Possible spoilers *

All through the book they kept alluding to Jude being "diseased" having STD's etc that were still affecting him but with no real detail of the exact STD's and no mention of HIV/Aids - very strange. At the end looking back I just did not find it believable - all his childhood contacts were evil, evil and all adult contacts extremely lovely, kind, super successful and rich.

I also disliked how at the start each character/ friend got chapters about them then it was all just dropped to only focus on Jude. I thought the other friends were under developed and explored and Willem was very 2D

GeorgeTheHamster Sun 25-Jun-17 18:56:12

It was flawed, definitely. But it's the only book to make me cry since The Bone People by Keri Hulme

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