The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Disappointment yet again. Why do I constantly get in these ruts of reading terrible books back-to-back-to-back? The Goldfinch didn’t start out bad. In fact, I tremendously enjoyed the first 3/4 of the novel. It was exactly 3/4, because this was an Audible read and it was broken into four parts. At over 30 hours in length, this novel was quite a commitment, and although I am fortunate that only 25% of it was complete garbage, the pure fecal quality of that small portion rendered the entire book pointless.

At the tender age of 13, Theo tragically loses his mother in a museum bombing. Somehow, he ends up taking a famous painting with him as he is escaping the museum and searching for his mother. Okay reading that back to myself it sounds pretty ridiculous, but I assure you, it makes sense in the novel. Theo ends up temporarily living with a friend, briefly living with his deadbeat dad in Vegas until dad, too, dies, and is ultimately taken in by a friendly furniture-restoring guy (is there an official title for that job?). Theo learns the trade and grows up to essentially be a criminal in spite of the kindness of his guardian.

When Theo grows up is when the novel goes sour. It is hard to understand how a conscientious boy can grow up into a man with no consideration regarding the impact of his actions on those who went out of their way to care for him. He has a sleazy Russian friend who floats in and out of the novel, and the two reconnect as adults. This bond solidifies Theo’s downfall. The painting, which is such a vital part of the first half of the novel, basically means nothing by the end.

The Goldfinch is overly long and overly verbose. The quality of the majority of the novel is entirely negated by the rushed, sloppy ending. Save yourself 30 hours and avoid this novel.

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