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The Goldfinch: by Donna Tartt -- Review

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,266 ratings  ·  212 reviews
THIS IS NOT THE NOVEL, BUT A BOOK REVIEW.

Learn what the experts are saying about Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch with this literary review. Dark themes prevail throughout the novel as protagonist Theo Decker copes with the violent and untimely death of his mother. As a 13-year-old boy, Theo’s grasp of reality is limited, and the tragic event forces despair and self-defeating b
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Kindle Edition, 46 pages
Published December 10th 2013
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Noel Heberling The descriptions you don't seem to appreciate are what make this book brilliant. Not only does she accurately describe complex emotions, but she does …moreThe descriptions you don't seem to appreciate are what make this book brilliant. Not only does she accurately describe complex emotions, but she does it in brilliant and unique prose. If you don't enjoy brilliant writing, perhaps you should try something less complicated. Perhaps you would like the Twilight series.(less)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,266 ratings  ·  212 reviews


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Kathryn Williams gravelle
Feb 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
This could have been a good book. Basic story line was good; however the main character Theo was a bore and 2 dimensional. His self indulgent musings were too much for me.
Pamela Cathcart
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. As a playwright, especially appreciated the infinite amount of detail in each character's "doings;" almost like watching a play. She sets up lighting, background noise, how the person is feeling (and how he thinks he should be feeling, and a literary example of that feeling...) to such a degree that, just when you are wondering if the book ever had an editor, things take a delicious turn. Boris just made me laugh out loud. The ending had me feeling overdosed in "cosmic truths," but giv ...more
Sarah Nichols
Feb 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I found the characters in this tedious opus one-dimensional and unpleasant. I made myself plow through to the end which I found completely unsatisfying. Tartt rambles on for page after page for no purpose that I could discern.
Patricia
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad that this book came to my bookshelf now. I am retired and have the time to read and assimilate the story at a leisurely pace, so the length was not detrimental for me. I was gettingantsy for a book that was different from the usual "best sellers". This delivered in spades. I think maybe those readers who found Theo two dimensional have no personal insight into how it feels to suffer from PTSD. It is difficult enough to get through daily life with support, but poor Theo is not wanted ...more
Rosemarie
I'm about a third of the way through and dislike Theo so much that I can't finish the book. So as someone else said, Donna Tartt writes very well - I just don't like what she wrote. ...more
Patti
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I would haven given it 5 stars but although I loved every page of it, it was a lot of pages. The themes explored are timeless. It's been compared to Oliver Twist and I can see why. The writing is superb and the turns that Theo's life has to navigate are each filled with their own turbulence. He does exacerbate the problems sometimes through his own choices but he is a teen at the start of the book. There is humor throughout all his banter with Boris and there relationship is really what endeare ...more
Elisamarie
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was the wordiest book I have ever read. I think I liked it, but I was so ready for it to end that it took away from my liking it too much.
Melissa Brown
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very interesting plot, and awesome development of characters...however I thought the book was too long. Because it was on the depressing side, I felt like I was slogging through it at times. I generally liked the book and I'm glad I read it. ...more
Susan
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tartt immediately drew me into the story with her amazing descriptions and the moral dilemma she presents. The contrast between NY and Las Vegas with their cast of characters was sharp and believable. I loved the ending and the musing about truth and beauty. I want to read her earlier work!
Serena
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have read all Donna Tartt's books now and, for me, she is one of the best authors writing today. The Goldfinch didn't let me down either. It is a long, harrowing read but the descriptions, characters and plot carry you along. There were two points in the novel where I had to put it down and have an emotional "rest"! I think I'll have to reread it shortly to appreciate the beautiful prose and descriptions as I devoured the story line, desperate to know what happened to these fascinating, damage ...more
Christina Houen
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yes, I’m three years behind in my reading (at least). I’ve just read Donna Tartt’s 3rd novel, The Goldfinch, published by Little, Brown in 2013, and awarded the Pulitzer prize in 2014.

The cover features a glimpse of the famous, priceless painting by Carl Fabritius (1654), which is the metaphorical subject of the novel, and the key to its plot and central character. The fact that the painting is only glimpsed through a tear in the cover page is a clever symbol for the part the painting plays in t
...more
Yona McDonough
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading THE GOLDFINCH reminded me of how I read as a girl: with total abandon, total immersion. The scope, the shape, the palpable sense of longing--all haunting. Yes, there were few missteps: Theo never sounded like a teen-aged boy (what 14 year old knows the brand of his mother's shampoo? And how is it he never, ever thinks of sex?) but still these things are minor compared with the towering achievement of this book. Great, sprawling, epic, filled with memorable characters and such a strong se ...more
Eileen Huston
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Way to long for the point it was trying to make.
Catherine Kennedy
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Dickens for the 21st century -loved it.
Jgriffruraltel.net
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book was a weighty corundum with a pretty bow tied at the end. There are a few good lines weighted down by overly verbose narratives. Don't bother. ...more
John Zenoni
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
I am very conflicted about this book because I really got into the character of Theo and his troubled life. However, while details can be essential to a character's development and/or of those interacting with the central character, there were way too many pages of unnecessary information and I found myself skimming pages at times. Definitely needed more editing on this one. Good book but way too long! ...more
Eva Antonel
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that had me vacillating from love to hate. I was drawn in right away by the atmospheric description of New York and was reminded of The Catcher in the Rye as well as From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, both books that have a special place in my heart.Half way through the story I felt disturbed by the unremitting detail of drug use and general fall into depravity and despair experienced by the majority of the main characters. There were moments that I ...more
Ryalto  Savage
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It wasn't perfect, and I enjoyed Secret History more, but I cannot give it any less than five stars. So well written, and far too complex for me to go into detail about the storyline. The book starts with a terrible disaster, then takes us on a journey through the eyes of the chief protagonist, Theo, who is in the possession of a stolen painting, The Goldfinch. We meet many fascinating characters: notably Boris. The characters are so well described by Ms Tartt, one could even ...more
Loretta
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
So descriptive. An great book that i just had to finish. The words truly paint the picture for you. But I felt many times it was too wordy, where characters stories were told that really had nothing to do with the main story. It seemed like wanderings of the mind, with truly no point. This dragged it on too much for me. I wondered if maybe the author was being paid by the word?
Kate
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Good read, but about 150 pages too long. Too wordy in parts that made it a bit tedious to continue. Secret History a much better book in my humble opinion.
Weston Ochse
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Now I understand why it won The Pulitzer. One of the best books I have ever read.
Sharon
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The only thing that prevented me from rating this book 5 stars is that (as other reviewers have pointed out) it could have benefited from a tight edit. That said, I was totally engaged from the novel's start and found the tale so suspenseful that, once I started to read it, I barely did anything else for three days, until I finished the book. The plot and premise strain credibility but as an escapist novel, it would be a good choice for reading on a long plane trip with long delays or layovers o ...more
Sewa
Sep 12, 2017 added it
Pulitzer prize winner and all, i was pretty excited, and sorely disappointed. It has no idea wat it's about. If i wanted lost teenage, i would have read catcher in the rye. If i wanted unrequited love i would have read the great gatsby. If i wanted detective thriller i would have read James bond, if i wanted drug abuse history i would have read prescriptions, and if i wanted philosophy i would gave read the geeta. The only thing well done in this book is the description of paintings and what the ...more
Howard
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding story of the coming of age of a good kid who is forced to find his way in the world due to a series of tragic events. Throughout the book he's caught in a limbo-like situation somewhere between the privileged rich and the homeless. At each stop, he manages to develop relationships with characters that help him get through the stages of his life. And these characters are SO well-developed. Tartt has the knack of weaving a very complicated story in such a way that it really is easy to ...more
Rob Hebron
Nov 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
I have never had to work so hard to finish a book, it could have easily been a 300 page novel.

I found it incredibly self indulgent. The goldfinch needlessly trudges on droning on and on and on.

Maybe I didn't "get it," but that's perfectly fine.

...more
Bob
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Why this book: Selected by my literature reading group. Interesting that a number of those in the reading group had already read it and wanted to read it again – even though it’s 770 pages long. This book has been widely acclaimed and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

Summary in 4 sentences: The story is told in first person from the perspective of a young man sharing his thoughts, fears, and perceptions of the world during a difficult 10 or so year period of his life – it could be c
...more
Phyl
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is favourite to win the Baileys women's prize for fiction and is already tipped for the Booker. Having said that, I was not so enraptured with this book as I expected to be. The characterisation was the standout feature for me, the young boy, Theo Decker, who loses his mother and with her, his moral compass and differing paths that his life may have otherwise taken. All Tartt's characters seem very finely drawn in an almost microscopic way. Once we get past the chara ...more
Susan
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Donna Tartt is an excellent writer. I was amazed with her ability to write such vivid explanations of art. Because of this story I will never forget Carel Fabritius' 1654, work of art. The Goldfinch. The author really did a tremendous amount of research. She shared an
impressive amount of art knowledge with out having to sign up for a college art course.
Lots of language ,Russian, Dutch, Ukranian and travel to Amsterdam was fun for me as well.

I enjoyed the book most of all the closer I got to t
...more
June
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Very tough for me to get interested at first and incredibly depressing, yet the creation of characters and conversations was amazing. Totally believable despite being far from what I've experienced. During the last 3rd of the book I really had a hard time putting it down. Disappointed that the ending dragged a bit. I think the point could have been made more quickly. Still, an intriguing book! ...more
Diane Feldman
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but it was really long. A lot of descriptions that really slowed down the reading. I enjoyed the characters and the ending - but there was 20 pages after the "ending" that just drug on and on. ...more
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