Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch: A Brief Review

I recognize I’m a solid two years late to the bandwagon on this one, but I read Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch over the summer and I have very mixed emotions.

Rather than write out a book report, allow me to compile a list of what I loved and what left me peeved:

The Good:

  • Holy crap: this author did her research. Her knowledge of the art world, historical and more recent, was impressive. I found myself looking up most of the artwork referenced because she described it so beautifully.
  • Theo Decker is one of the most thoroughly troubled characters I’ve read in a long time. His personality quirks seemed far-fetched, though, so this is equally a praise and a criticism.
  • Tartt has an exceptional vocabulary. Or a really good thesaurus.
  • I found Theo’s childhood substantially more interesting and complex than his adult years; the suffering teen was relatable, real, and triggered a genuine emotional response from me.

The Bad:

  • Many people refer to The Goldfinch as a “Dickensian” and I agree in terms of length, but not in terms of overall creativity. The book is LONG and draws on and on and on. I’ll be honest, I found myself putting it down for days at a time, which is not my normal behavior if I like a book.
  • The plot was absolutely far-fetched, especially the last 200 pages. Art theft? Fraud? A big heist? Knowing so many people all over the world? Really?
  • Other than a few “SAT-level” words, it was very simplistically written.
  • The drug usage, neglect, and tragedy became downright sickening. I’m not one to say a book needs a trigger warning, but maybe this one does?

I could say a lot more, but looking online, it seems Tartt’s work has already been highly reviewed, both critically and with extreme laud, so I’m not adding anything new to this discussion.

Long story short: will I read more of her work? Meh, it’s unlikely.

It wasn’t bad, but the ending was so lackluster (and spoon-feeding of the author’s “moral of the story,” if you know what I mean)

Have you read it? And, if so, what did you think? Please leave a comment and weigh in!

~ Victoria Elizabeth


One thought on “Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch: A Brief Review

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