The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Publication date: October 22, 2013
Pages: 771 pages
Genre: Literary fiction
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Strengths: Beautiful words, compelling plot
Weaknesses: Overall length
After watching the movie on Amazon Prime a couple weeks ago, I added myself to the library's waiting list for this classic. I happened to get my turn within a week of a couple other reviews being due, so I wasn't fully committed to finishing 700+ pages. I figured I'd start into it and see if I felt like finishing after 10% or so. While 10% wasn't very far into the plot of the movie, it was enough to have me hooked. I had to know how it all would go.
I loved this book. The movie pretty much followed an overview of the book. Anything that was different was still believeable, in my opinion, based on the characters. I would have liked to have read the book slower, but in the words of a famous meme, "Ain't nobody got time for that."
The story tells of Theo Decker, who was having a fairly average childhood until he and his mother are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when bombs go off inside the museum. They are separated at the time. He later finds out that his mom dies in the explosion, but he is in a room with the guardian of a young girl who caught his eye earlier. He speaks (at length, in the book) with the guardian during his last moments, and takes The Goldfinch at the man's suggestion. Having the priceless painting and not being quite sure why is a contemplation that overshadows a lot of the rest of his life.
After living for a little while with a rich classmates family (and finding and visiting the mystery girl from the museum), Theo's estranged father shows up with a trashy girlfriend in tow and moves him back to Vegas with them. In Vegas, Theo meets Boris, a Ukranian (I think?) who has traveled the world while his father digs wells or something everywhere. Boris promptly introduces Theo to lots of drugs and alcohol. Now haunted not only by the painting in his possession, Theo becomes an even less reliable narrator, as everything is colored by his binges.
Anyway, I LOVED this book! I would love to read it again when I have time to process it more. I'd give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, but only recommend it to someone who knows what they're in for.