Laurel's Reviews > The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
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's review
Dec 10, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, mystery-or-suspense

I have mixed feelings on this one, but have decided to give it 4 stars primarily for the writing.

The book centers around a very small/elite group of students studying Greek at a rural New England college. From the very first page, we know that one of these students was killed, and by whom. What we don't know is why.

The secrets to this murder are slowly revealed to us through the point of view of another student, Richard, as he is accepted into the group and sucked into their strange world.

I was definitely gripped by this novel, particularly in the beginning. The problem was that I pretty much grew to hate all the characters, and I'm not sure that was the author's intent. They are each so snobby, callous and selfish that after awhile I almost stopped caring what happened to them. Not one of them shows genuine regret or emotion over the grave crime(s) they've committed, other than anxiety over their secret potentially being revealed. One of the characters does spiral downward into alcoholism, but that is seemingly more from stress than remorse. The book is so dark and disturbing that I think I found this lack of emotion all the more unsettling.

This aside, however, there is no doubt the book is a page turner; I finished it in just four days. There is something to be said of a book of this size that manages to keep your full attention despite your dislike of all the characters. Worth reading just for the suspense of it all.
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03/12 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Beth F. Ohhhhh, I loved this book. I hope you enjoy it!

Laurel Thanks, Beth! I haven't started yet but will in a day or two -- I'm looking forward to it!

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