Gail's Reviews > The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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Let's just get my No. 1 beef with The Goldfinch out of the way: An editor should have taken a weedwhacker to its pages, trimming it from its bloated length of nearly 800 pages to 600(ish)--at least! (We read this for our book club and all felt this way, though we said that while her editor perhaps might have also felt this way, he or she wasn't going to go toe-to-toe with the 'great' Donna Tartt)

I had quite a love-hate relationship with this one. There were moments (especially early on, when Tartt so touchingly and hauntingly portrays Theo's confusion and sadness over the loss of his mother in the bombing) that were on par with the brilliance I expect from Tartt based on her earlier work (The Secret History being one of my favorite novels). And then there were times I felt my eyes glazing over, especially when Tartt found the need to give every minor character two to three pages of backstory--like, Jesus, GET ON WITH IT ALREADY. This was especially true toward the book's end, when Tartt took readers on a crazy international journey that lead them to the bottom of the seedy underworld of stolen art (or, in this case, Amsterdam). It was in this final leg of the book where I felt more lost than at any earlier point, but by then, I really didn't care if I couldn't keep my gangsters and mobsters straight, so anxious was I to finish the book. (Also, a note on that ending: I could have done without the approach Tartt chose of cramming a 10-page lesson on philosophy and art into it---that felt out of sync with the rest of how she told this brilliant story, didn't it?)

And still, even with the faults found by this particular reader, STILL I would tell people to pick up The Goldfinch (assuming they were die-hard readers up for the challenge of tackling a heavy-ass tome of a book). I don't regret having finally picked it up (and, Pulitzer Prize winner that it is, I now see what all the buzz--good and bad--was about). I guess my only regret is ultimately the way I felt about it, wishing I could say I loved it more than I did (though, to be sure, I doubt I'll ever forget Theo or, perhaps the best gift The Goldfinch gave us, even better than a goose chase over a tiny little painting, the character of BORIS!) Would love to hear what other GR readers thought of this one. Also, for a little extra credit reading, I found some fun articles related to the book:

How to Tweet Like Boris (HA!) http://www.themillions.com/2014/02/ho...

Casting The Goldfinch (Elijah Wood -- yes, yes, yes!!) http://www.interviewmagazine.com/film...

Fact Checking The Goldfinch (the comments in this were particularly amusing to me) http://the-toast.net/2014/03/18/fact-...
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Reading Progress

March 22, 2013 – Shelved (ebook Edition)
June 20, 2014 – Started Reading
June 20, 2014 – Shelved
July 5, 2014 – Finished Reading
November 25, 2015 – Shelved as: book-club

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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Jennifer I share your critiques on this one - especially your feelings about the "crazy international journey" at the end. I listened to the audiobook (a format I definitely recommend for this as I was able to complete other tasks while 'reading' and it helped minimize my anxiety about not getting through it fast enough) and there were many parts during that portion where I found myself not knowing, or caring, who certain characters being introduced were. Great review! As usual, you captured the essence, both good and bad, of this work.


message 2: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail Jennifer wrote: "I share your critiques on this one - especially your feelings about the "crazy international journey" at the end. I listened to the audiobook (a format I definitely recommend for this as I was able..."

Hi Jennifer! Catching up on GoodReads updates (oh gosh...I've fallen off this last half of the year) and just got to this comment of yours. Makes me feel better to think I wasn't alone with these thoughts! And THANK YOU for the compliment about the review -- means so much!


Lindsey Yep. The ending was definitely weird and the epilogue of sorts was really jarring for me.


message 4: by Pippin (new)

Pippin Attempting to read this, I got the feeling i was with one of those people who relates every detail. I get it, the author is trying to put me there in the story, but I don't need the detail - i have a good imagination and I'm willing to use it - so let me, already! Sorry, I didn't have the patience to wade thru the rest of it. I thought maybe there was just abundant description during and after the bomb went off to give the sense of time slowing down and everything being seared into Theo's mind, and that it would lessen, but I got thru that section and it was more of the same. Ultimately, I couldn't hack it. (never got to meet this Boris character.) too many other books to read. why do you think this was a pulitzer winner?


Angie yes!!!!! I feel exactly the same way! oh I loved the characters, but yes to everything you said


Jennifer Seris Just finished last night and knew I'd need to check out your review...SPOT ON! (And now I have more links to check out plus the trailer for the upcoming film!)

Compelling storyline(s) and so impressed with the way she could write Boris (I could hear him!) ...but definitely dragging with too much detail and the ending was a painful trudge.

Also, I know you're a hard copy gal, but I read on my Kindle and could only guess by the estimated time left tracker how long the book *actually* was...no "heft" to remind me! 🤣


message 7: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail Jennifer wrote: "Just finished last night and knew I'd need to check out your review...SPOT ON! (And now I have more links to check out plus the trailer for the upcoming film!)

Compelling storyline(s) and so impr..."


I really love Donna Tartt. I've read all her books and think she's brilliant, and the longer I've "sat" with this one, the more I've come to admire it (even if I STILL think it's too long!)

I am equal parts anxious and excited to see the film—excited b/c I love all the actors involved (Ansel and Nicole, especially), anxious b/c this is the kind of work that feels impossible to turn into a movie and make it work (there's so much ground to cover!)


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