The Goldfinch Book Review

The Goldfinch: Book Review by Arlene

5 out of 5 stars


The Goldfinch Book Review






If you are an avid reader, The Goldfinch is the kind of book that you only come across a few times that leaves a lasting impression on you.

The characters in this book are so vividly portrayed it is quite possible you will never forget them.

The narration has an urgency that will prevent you from putting the book down between readings.

The suspense builds while the mysteries, which are many, consume you.

This book is not one you can read in a day or two or three.

It will compel you to keep reading and reading but it is a long book that must be delved into pieces at a time.

This small painting of the little bird, the goldfinch, underlines the theme of the entire book and you will be driven by it, the little bird itself chained in its cage and the mesmerizing painting of it.

So, it begins with Theo Decker, a 13 year old boy who has a loving and deep relationship with his mother.

His father left them so their lives hinged on taking care of each other, just the two of them. They had their daily routines and week-end excursions of discovering NYC.

Theo was a good kid and like all good kids got into a bit of trouble at school. On the day their lives would change forever, he and his mother were on their way to a school meeting to discuss this bit of trouble he had gotten himself into.

They had some time to kill before the meeting so they diverted their route and decided to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum held the painting of The Goldfinch.

They decided to go their separate ways for awhile and meet up later to continue on to the school meeting. While wandering around, an explosion in the museum occurs and Theo is thrown into the rubble.

There are people wandering around, people severely injured, people dead, people dazed and confused.

Theo is able to get his wits about him and begins dragging himself through the carnage to locate his mother to find out if she is alive and okay and begins the trek of going to the location of where she said she was going.

He does not find her but comes across 2 people who will change his life and haunt his dreams forever.

Without giving away the answer of the how it all happened question of Theo’s possession of the Goldfinch painting, his possession of the painting is the underlying theme of the whole book.

The reader, at times, will begin to wonder, where in this long story with the painting come through again.

It seems to get lost when the author is taking the readers into the minds and experiences of the main characters but be rest assured it will show up again.

You meet Theo at a very young age and will know him as a boy and a man.

You will know the people who come into his life after his mother’s tragic death including his father who eventually shows up again.

You will meet and know the wealthy family who take him in after the explosion when it is finally determined that his mother is not missing but has been killed in the blast.

You will come to know the lifelong friend he meets on the West Coast who influences his life beyond his expectations.

Every aspect of Theo’s life, every person he meets along the way, every thought and dream Theo Decker has, is expertly portrayed for you the reader.

You might become impatient but I would advise you not to
read ahead – you might feel the need to as you go along but I feel you should just let the book take you.

It all comes together perfectly and you will realize why it was needed but you will feel like the narration goes on forever.

I have to say, you really can’t expect what will happen next. The book is a roller coaster of emotions!!!

The ride is chopped up with many bumps in the road. Just when you think you have it, WHAM, you find out you don’t!

Let Theo, Andy, Hobbie, Welty, Pippa, Boris and a host of others lead you through this incredible masterpiece of work from Donna Tartt. It may keep you up at night turning the pages.

Realistically the book was beautifully written and at times maddening and real. I felt myself loving Theo and finding his choices disappointing at the same time.

I found the relationship with his father  an interesting insight into Theo’s depth of character as he finally comes to understand him and love him at the same time and then lose him again.

I found the relationship between Theo and Boris to be heart wrenching and heartwarming and not too surprised, after his separation from Theo, and then their unexpected meeting up again, to play a pivotal part in the ending of the story.

The other very important character of Hobbie plays out throughout the story line. I found him to be very likable and trusting and interesting. His role in Theo’s life and the impact it had on him is undeniable.

I could picture Hobbie’s antique shop vividly in my mind.

In my opinion The Goldfinch deserved the Pulitzer Prize. Bravo Donna Tartt!!!

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12 thoughts on “The Goldfinch Book Review

  1. I really loved this book myself when I read it back in December! The character swept me in and simply didn’t let me go in the slightest. I am even writing a year long essay about it because it just sounds so promising to me. Glad someone else could enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is as well <3

    1. Hi Olivia,
      I really appreciate your views on The Goldfinch. This book does certainly leave lasting thoughts as you turn the last pages. To be able to write a year long essay on this book to me seems like a daunting task to undertake. I wish you all the best on that and thank you so much for appreciating my review on The Goldfinch.

      So nice to hear from you!

  2. Hi Arlene, Great review and captivating! The Goldfinch isn’t the genre of book I typically read, I like fantasy (e.g. Tolkien). But your review made me: Want to know what happens with Theo? What is the mystery behind the Goldfinch painting?

    Do you know if there is a Kindle edition to this book? Thanks!

    1. Hello Stuart. I find venturing out of my usual book choices has enlightened my interest into all kinds of books I might not have initially chosen.

      I am interested in many genres of fiction and have the utmost respect for the
      storytellers out there who bring us readers many avenues to explore. We can always go back to the tried and true of course!

      You can find the kindle version of The Goldfinch at the following link.

      Thank you for your comments!

  3. What a great review! You’ve captured this story and it’s characters so well. I really do like a book with strong emotional connections and deep character development, this is definitely going on my to-read list.

    A lot of people may be intimidated by such a length but I actually love long books! Short ones make me sad sometimes, when they end so quickly haha!

    Thanks for the awesome review 🙂

    1. Hello Steph,
      I really appreciate you comments on this fantastic book. It is truly a study in human nature. It is a long book and I am like you in that regard when the story is outstanding you do not want it to end.

      This particular book has stayed with me as I find myself still thinking about it!

  4. The Goldfinch sounds like a great read with the interesting plot and characters. This book is long – I do not have much time for reading novels lately but I will certainly check out this book the next time I’m at a library or bookshop.

    Thanks for your recommendation.

    1. Hi Yvonne.
      Thanks for your interest in reading The Goldfinch. Once you pick up a copy I think you would like to set some time aside to continue reading it. It is that good! It does take a commitment though and well worth the effort.

      It was great to hear from you and I appreciate your comments.

  5. This book sounds amazing!

    I have had it on my to read pile and have not picked it up yet because the size of it is so daunting. I am glad you thought it was worth it. I will try to get to it soon 🙂

    1. Hi Susan.
      Yes this novel is long and can seem daunting. It can, though, become all encompassing once you start it.

      The chapters move along nicely and the changes in the life of the main character are gripping and will keep you turning the pages. The book is set up in a way where you can read a lot or a little and then pick it up again and the story line just follows along.

      It is a great book and I think you will be glad you read it!

  6. Hi Shaz.
    Thanks for your comments on my review.

    This was a very long book and the review was a challenge! I do think it deserved the Pulitzer and when reading it, I think you will agree.

    I have never done an audio book but I think if you have limited time that would be a great way to absorb all this novel offers.

    Very nice to hear from you and I appreciate thoughts.

  7. Great review Arlene – I’m very interested as you think it deserves the Pulitzer! I will have a look at it at the local bookshop before deciding to buy it or not. I wasn’t aware that Audible is available for free the first 2 audio books. Definitely have to try it out as these days I have lesser and lesser time for reading 🙁

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