Number of Pages: 771
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: September 23, 2013
“A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld.”
I’m not going to lie: I first picked up this book at the library purely because of the cover. I have always been attracted to clean, simple cover designs, and this one is particularly beautiful. It has such a great connection to the story as well, which makes it even better. I had an idea in my mind of what I thought this book would be like before I even started reading it, and it was far from what the story actually ended up being. But I’m so glad that happened! The Goldfinch went way beyond the limits of my original expectations.
This book’s large size (almost 800 pages!) was certainly daunting in the beginning. However, one remarkable thing about this novel was that it did not seem nearly that lengthy while I was reading it. The story arc spans from when Theo Decker is a child to when he is an adult, and consequently there is so much that happens. Although there were a few parts that seemed to move rather slowly, overall I was thoroughly impressed by the excellent pacing of the plot. Furthermore, the whole idea of the story was so unique that I couldn’t help but find it all so very interesting. How could a young boy possibly steal a world-famous painting (and a bit unknowingly, too!) and manage to keep it a secret for so many years? It’s such an impossible idea, and yet Tartt was able to write it in a way that was all too believable.
Throughout the entire novel, I could not help but feel for Theo. No matter how many poor decisions he made and no matter how infuriated I became, I always reverted back to supporting and rooting for him eventually. As the story progresses Theo becomes a not-so-great person at times, but his past is so tragic and sad that I found myself constantly justifying his behavior in my mind. In this way, The Goldfinch is largely a test of empathy- For how long can we do our best to understand where people are coming from and the situations that they are currently experiencing?
In short, I loved basically everything about this novel. The ending was fantastic, despite the fact that it was open-ended. It was satisfying while at the same time leaving room for the reader to imagine futures for the characters beyond the last page. Twists and turns kept the story interesting for most of the time, although there were some spots that were a bit dull. Overall, however, the strengths of this novel definitely outweigh the few rather insignificant weaknesses that it has. I am absolutely looking forward to reading more of Donna Tartt’s work!
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! It may seem daunting at first, but it’s definitely worth it.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Are there other books by Donna Tartt that you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!