• The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Book Review

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is an incredible book about a man’s tragic journey to the art underworld and how it unravels his entire life. The book is based on a beautiful painting of a finch by Carel Fabritius. I was incredibly lucky to see it in real life.

Here is the not so short story…

It is quite a serendipitous tale… In October 2016, while I was living in the UK, I was visiting my mom in Bristol. During one of our days out, I found the book in a charity shop. They sold it for £1.00 which was a great find. I started reading it that very evening.

In the December of 2016, I was in Scotland staying with my dad and my mom came for a pre-Christmas visit. It was wonderful, we walked through the festive German Christmas market located right next to the museum and that’s when I saw the poster saying the painting was on show.

I dragged my mom through the whole museum until we found it. Seeing it is a memory I will treasure forever.

Are you wondering why I started the book in 2016 but have it listed as “currently reading” on this blog? Well shortly after that serendipitous day, I got a notice that my visa request had been denied and I had to move back to South Africa. Between all the stress of packing up my life and starting over, I put the book on my shelf and stopped reading.

One of my 2018 goals was to read more books and so I picked it up and tried again. And that is the story… So here is my review because I finally finished this nearly 800-page book.

The Review

As I mentioned above, the book is HUGE and can seem a little daunting but it is worth it! It follows the life of Theo Decker, starting as a young boy, he tragically loses his mother while viewing the famous painting.

Left motherless, he is sent to stay with his father and his life slowly shifts. He becomes a troubled teen and as he gets older, finds his way into the dark underworld of art theft and drugs. All because of this tiny but striking painting.

I had no trouble starting the book, it is very eventful, to begin with, but in the middle, it seems to drag on a little. During these bits, I seriously considered abandoning the book and moving on with life. Thankfully, I had a friend who was reading it and had gotten ahead of me. She encouraged me to push through it and I did.

Once I got through the middle part, I struggled to put the book down. It picks up and fast! The next thing I knew I had turned the final page and it was all over.

There is a reason Donna Tartt won a Pulitzer Prize for it. Her detail and character descriptions were so brilliant I felt like I knew each person personally. I read in their voices and understood their pain. My heart started to race and my skin prickled with anxiety during the tense moments.

Would I recommend you read this? Heck yeah! But maybe do so during the holidays.

With My Love,

Tyler

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