• Ms. Coffey

"The Goldfinch" Donna Tartt

"None of us ever find enough kindness in the world, do we?" -- Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt's third novel, The Goldfinch, was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2013. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 and Amazon's Best Book of the Year award in 2013. The New York Times Bestseller can be seen in theaters starting September 13th.

Theo, the main character, narrates this coming of age story after the tragic death of his mother. The duo was attending the Metropolitan Museum of Art when a bomb went off, killing her and emotionally scaring Theo. The loss sends Theo into a depressed and drug-abusing state. The only thing that gives him the slightest bit of comfort is the small painting, The Goldfinch, that he stole from the museum that fateful day. Will the painting stay tucked away forever, or will someone figure out Theo's secret?

For the first 500 pages, this book was pretty slow. It dealt with how Theo was processing his mother's death, as well as him dealing with school, friends, family, and drug and alcohol abuse. Once Theo is older, there are so many twists and turns that I did not see coming. He gets involved in selling antique furniture, and somehow his secret is beginning to unravel. The storytelling is very slow, but it picks up toward the end of the novel.

The writing style is stunning and detail-oriented. That is also the downfall of the book. There is so much detail that I found myself losing all my motivation (hence why it took me a month to read this book). I would skim over the detail, realized I missed something important, then I had to go back and look all over again. This took a lot of extra time, so I lost motivation. When I wasn't rereading, I was in awe of Tartt's writing. Her language is superb in every way. (Especially the last 30 pages.)

In my opinion, the characters were the best part of the book. They were complex, natural, and deep. Tartt's dedication toward character development was outstanding. Most of the book was set aside to let the characters grow, mature, and learn.

My favorite part, hands-down, was the last 200 pages. There was unpredictable plot twists, developed characters, and a whole lot of drama. It was so good that I finished the last 250 pages in a day. Once I got myself to that point, I was thoroughly captivated in the story.

My least favorite part is the excessive, intricate details that offered little depth to the story. I did not care about the exact weather on July 2nd at precisely 4:32 pm. Those were the kinds of details that I would glance over.

Overall, I did enjoy reading the book. I had to motivate myself to read, but I got a chance to fall in love with great characters and a phenomenal story. Like I said, with well-developed characters, poetic writing style, and unpredictable plot; it is easy to award The Goldfinch 4.5 out of 5 stars. I only took off half a star because the poetic detail fits in with the overall tone of the book. I recommend it to anyone that enjoys art, coming of age tales, and poetic storytelling.

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