“The Goldfinch”, by Donna Tartt

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Read it, or save your time?  Remember, my ratings are based on one thing: overall entertainment value.  So although this particular book won a Pulitzer, I gave it a 3.5 stars because it was a long and dragged out.  I still think it’s worth reading, even if it’s just to tell all of your smart, literary friends and to give you something to talk about at your next dinner party.

What’s it about?  Thirteen-year-old Theo Decker and his mother are having a great day touring a museum in their hometown of NYC when a terrorist bomb explodes.  He miraculously survives, but his mother does not.  Immediately after the attack, Theo moves in with his friend’s family in their fancy penthouse apartment on Park Ave.  Still reeling from the tragic loss of his mother, abandoned by his father, and completely out of his element in the life of privilege he suddenly finds himself in, Theo is understandably lonely and lost.  For comfort, he clings to one of the few things that remind him of his mother: a mysterious painting (aka The Goldfinch).

The book is the story of Theo’s life, from his teenage years to manhood, although some would argue he never really changes or grows up.  The book is titled after the painting because his entire life is both directly and indirectly dictated by the painting, the one constant in his life.

Reviewer’s Note:  Although the book is very dragged out and could easily be half as long, there is one part that blew my mind and made it worthwhile.  Obviously it has to do with that painting, and that one part alone makes the book worth reading (well, that and bragging rights).

Also, the chapters (and chapters and more chapters) dedicated to Theo’s teenage years are REALLY dragged out, and I recommend skim reading as much as possible.


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