This book is about a group of four guys that meet in their early twenties and is followed by the next thirty years of their lives. It focusses in particular on Jude, whom we know little about in the beginning and then get more details about his childhood as the story progresses.
My initial reaction after having finished reading this book was anger and shock. I gave it three stars because I felt emotionally manipulated. I mean, the author threw every kind of abuse out there. Everything but the kitchen sink. Then a week or so after that, I ended up bumping it to four stars because i was still processing it and I felt that even though it was manipulative, it was so well done that I had to bump it up. It didn’t feel right to give this book only three stars. A few weeks after that, I ended up bumping it to five stars because again, I kept thinking about it, I found myself recommending it to people, and no other book after compared to it. It deserves five stars.
Yanigihara does an amazing job at giving the characters nuance and complexity. All of her characters feel like real human beings. They all suffer, they all experience happiness. They argue, they make stupid decisions, they fall in love, they have relationship problems, etc.
This is a book that I don’t think I will ever forget. Since my initial reading, it has gone to my favourites shelf and I will definitely re-read it in the future.
That said, I’m not a fan of the American cover. It’s called ‘Orgasmic Man’ and if that’s supposed to represent Jude, it’s all kinds of wrong.