We did it, or at least some of us did it! We read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for our February Book Club. At a whopping 784 pages and weighing in at 2.3 lbs, it was a huge undertaking. Luckily, we plan our books two months in advance and some members of the group, who will remain nameless, skipped reading the January book to focus their reading time on The Goldfinch. Not me, I read the January book (see post) and when my name came up at the library for The Goldfinch I picked it up and got right on it. Let me start this review with the fact that one of my all time favorite books was Donna Tartt’s first book, The Secret History. So I was really excited to read her latest book.
I tried to commute with the hard copy but after a week I had to return the book to the library because it weighed too much to carry back and forth. I then bought the kindle edition which was a much better and lighter option. The story centers around Theo Decker, a thirteen year old boy, who survives an accident at the Metropolitan Museum that kills his mother. Theo, having been left by his father, goes to live with a wealthy school friends’ family until his guardianship can be sorted out. The book follows Theo from this point, through his teens and twenties as he tries to come to terms with the loss of his mother and the connection he has with the painting “The Goldfinch.”
The book starts off with a bang and the first 150 pages, or so, are great. Then, for me, the middle of the book got tedious: too many long passages and descriptions about Theo’s daily life. I admit, I skipped and skimmed most of the book. Finally in the last 200 pages the pace picked up and she got my attention again. It is beautifully written and the attention to detail is amazing, but I would prefer if it had been edited by about 250-300 pages and then I could give it five stars. As for our book club, it got mixed reviews: some people loved it, others hated it and a few, like me, were caught in the middle wading through all the pages. I do not think my voting categories reflect my true thoughts on the book, but I went with the best option:
Readers Note: I did see a review from a friend on GoodReads that said she listened to an audio copy and it made all the difference for her. That might be a good way to “read” the book.