Some books come along and when you read them, they stay with you for a long time. That is how the Goldfinch was for me and I still think about here here and there. See why it has connected with so many people and why it is was made into a movie.
The Goldfinch: Summary
13-year-old Theodore Decker is visiting the Metropolitan Museum or Art, or MOMA, in New York City with his mother. During the visit, he gets separated from his mother and a bomb goes off killing his mother and numerous other people.
In the rubble, Theo meets a dying old man who points towards the painting The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. That also happens to be Theo’s mom’s favorite painting. In a panicked state, Theo grabs the painting and walks out of the museum.
Theo is taken in and lives with his friend and his wealthy family. He attends school and befriends Boris, a trouble making kid. Eight years later, Theo is working for Hobie at his antique shop. Boris shows up in his life again and reveals a shocking truth related to the painting Theo has hidden away for all those years.
Now, Theo has to right a lot of wrongs that he has done. But it won’t be easy as he gets involved in the underground world of art. He also has to make it up to Hobie for what he has done and come to terms with his mother’s death, something that has shaped his relationships over the years.
I was drawn to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt by its beautiful book cover. It is a painting of a goldfinch peaking out through a ripped hole. It is genius and innovative. That drew me in and the crazy story of Theo kept me reading it whenever I could.
Donna Tarrt is known to release one novel per decade. But that wait seems to be worth it when she churns out novels that you think about for years. The Secret History is also a favorite of mine and I think even better than the Goldfinch.
If you haven’t read a Tartt novel, then approach with caution. Her novels are long and tend to be very detailed. I believe it’s to fine-tune her characters and as we know, to really get to know someone, there’s a lot of details involved.
Speaking about the novel itself, I loved the focus on that one event in Theo’s life. It ends up shaping the rest of his life. He really misses his mom and nothing is ever going to ease that pain. The focus on the trauma sets up most of the novel and the poor choices Theo ends up making.
It may be a long novel but the investment is worth it. You get to see Theo’s life unfold and it is one crazy ride. As a character, Theo is easily forgettable. He doesn’t have any outstanding qualities but you can’t help feel bad for him. Tartt knows how to build a solid backstory and write a great novel too!