The Goldfinch Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Every once in a while a golden nugget of a book falls into my lap. Maybe twice a year if I’m lucky. Some years I would say pass without any at all. Not to say that there aren’t many, many wonderful books I read each year. Countless that are really entertaining, funny, provide lessons or are simply good reads for other reasons.
But then there is a golden nugget - a book so phenomenal that it changes me. Perhaps it turns my world upside down. Or perhaps the opposite and instead it confirms or reaffirms my deepest beliefs. Maybe it takes me in its arms, engulfs me completely and doesn’t let go for a long, long time.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a golden nugget.
From page one I was falling into its powerful holds. Though it is a long book, I never once lost interest. I had to take it slowly at times to allow the words, scenes, and story soak in. Other parts I read so quickly because I couldn’t wait one iota longer to find out what was going to happen.
Theo Decker is the protagonist through whose eyes the reader sees the tale. Theo and his mother are on their way to a meeting at his school in New York City to discuss his unacceptable behavior as of late when they make a stop in a museum. It is there that a bomb goes off and his world as he knows it explodes with the walls of the museum.
The story continues through Theo’s adolescence and adulthood. Characters come in and out of his life; a life which unfolds in an unpredictable and captivating way. Choices are made both by Theo and by those responsible for his care that leave the reader on the edge of her seat.
As Theo’s life unfolds for the reader, themes of love, art, cruelty, identity, loss, truth and fate all float to the surface. The beautiful way Tartt uses words paint a picture of the story in the reader’s mind that is fascinating and intriguing. And at the same time those words dig in deep to the reader’s brain, compelling contemplation of many of life’s greatest questions.
How The Goldfinch has been in print since 2013 and hadn’t found me yet, I don’t know. But now that I read it, one thing is certain: it will never leave me. And being that I finished it in 2018, I will cross my fingers that I’ll be lucky enough to find a golden nugget in two consecutive years, but I won’t hold my breath.
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