The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt || 771 Pages || 5/5 Review
If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I (semi) often post reviews of the books I am reading. Reading is, and always has been, my first love. It’s a huge part of who I am as a person. So I like sharing whichever books I am reading and giving them a quick review. I post my reviews to both Instagram and Goodreads and thought that I may as well post them here too.
The Goldfinch was one of those books that I saw around and resisted, to give it some time to get some reviews from my peers. It’s not really a genre I have wanted to dabble in until recently (I prefer wizards and teenager vampires to reality), but I am deeply glad that I chose to not read a single fantasy this year and expand my horizons. The Goldfinch is one of the best books I have read lately and I recommend it to anyone who is willing to dive deep for an exquisitely heartbreaking adventure.
This book felt less like reading a novel and more like traversing an epic journey across ages, time zones, emotional junctures and somehow completely believable but shockingly un-believable events. I feel like this book became a part of who I am as a person, perhaps in part because of how long I carried it in my bag with me.
What. A. Road.
Oh, but a beautiful road it was. It was maddeningly slow sometimes, but in an intoxicating romantic way. Never so slow that I would abandon it, but rather I’d find myself contemplating pages and paragraphs for days after reading them, before I’d reach back into what was a deeply depressing, but wholly incredible read.
Theo as a character is so deeply human. If not relatable, he was at least, vulnerable. He was flawed and frustrating and at times I just wanted to cradle him in my arms. At other times, I wanted to yell at him and then again I found myself being him. Especially in the scenes of his adolescence…
And maybe it’s only those who grew up a bit like a Theo did – not watched close enough, not loved deeply enough – that understand the beauty in a friendship a little too close, the lack of connection with other people, the obsessive love of an object that tethers you to a dead parent. Maybe this book is too hard to identify with unless you have lived it to a certain degree. For me, someone whose life was turned upside down in my early years (albeit, not quite so dramatically or worthy of this type of prose), it was reminiscent of my young adulthood. Reading this book reminded me of quiet snowy walks, wishing for a life different than my own. It took me back to the awkwardness of craving love from those who weren’t meant to give it to me.
Truly a beautifully woven tale, that at times felt more real than real life even though the story was alluringly abstract.
A few of my favorite passages from the end of the book:
“Well – I have to say I personally have never drawn such a sharp line between “good” and “bad” as you. For me: that line is often false. The two are never disconnected. One can’t exist without the other. As long as I am acting out of love, I feel I am doing [the] best I know how.”
“Only – if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things – beautiful things – that they connect you to some larger beauty? Those first images that crack your heart wide open and you spend the rest of your life chasing, or trying to recapture, in one way or another?”