The Goldfinch: Book Review by Arlene
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!!!
Or listen to it for free with Amazon Audible trial.
Please join us in our conversation on The Goldfinch Book Club Discussion Questions.
Check out our book reviews!