I put off reading The Goldfinch for years. It’s a pretty intimidating book: nearly eight-hundred pages and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize (which are usually hit-or-miss for me). I also didn’t love Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (it was good, just wasn’t a favorite for me). So I was skeptical when it came to The Goldfinch. But they made a movie – which is out today! – and like any good bookworm, I needed to read the book first. And here we are.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
The Goldfinch is one of those books that will pull you in before you even realize it is happening. The writing is so exquisitely beautiful that it’s difficult not to feel every word. I already know this book is going to stick with me for a very long time. It just wormed it’s way into my brain, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Even better, I kind of don’t want to.
I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this novel. Even when I hated them, every single one of them was dimensional and interesting and, most importantly, felt one hundred percent human. Which is really all I want in a novel. I think the best example of this is Boris, who drove me crazy with his irresponsible antics, but always managed to make me smile. The characters were all at once infuriating and endearing, and that made this book so much more interesting. They felt like people I could know, and I feel like I did really get to know them reading this story. I loved it.
There is a lot going on in this book, story-wise. But I kind of loved it. Life isn’t as simple as we want it to be, and this book felt like a portrayal of life as it really is (albeit a bit more complicated than I feel like most people experience. I mean, without spoiling anything, I doubt the majority of us have been in the position to hold a million dollar painting – though, now that I think about it, I have held a few other pretty cool priceless things, thanks to an awesome history professor who also ran a museum and a worker at the Hard Rock Cafe in London who turned off the alarms). But, despite the fact that I wouldn’t exactly call this story relatable, Donna Tartt does such a great job of brining the reader into it, relatability doesn’t matter. You’re right there in the middle. It was perfect.
★★★★★ – I loved The Goldfinch. It was brilliant and engaging and I think it definitely achieved favorite status. My only regret is not reading it sooner.
Have you read The Goldfinch? Are you planning on seeing the adaptation?
The Goldfinch is available in bookstores now! It’s currently almost half off on Amazon.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose The Goldfinch as one of your two free books. (I actually listened to most of this on audio and really enjoyed it! The narration is a bit slow, but Audible lets you speed up your books, so I ended up listening to it on 2.5x speed, which was perfect.)
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