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The Secret History
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Archive: Other Books > The Secret History by Donna Tartt 3.5 stars

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Diane Zwang | 485 comments The Secret History by Donna Tartt
3.5/5 stars rounded to 4

From the book jacket: “Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at least inexorably into evil”.

This is the second book I have read from Donna Tartt, the other being The Goldfinch which I loved. I can't help but compare the books in my review. I enjoy Donna Tartt's writing and The Secret History was smartly written. She seems to favor characters that come from dysfunctional backgrounds. What I missed in The Secret History was the sympathy factor. I had great sympathy for the characters in The Goldfinch because they were kids but in The Secret History these eccentric college students did not garner my sympathy when things started going south. The story was slow to start for me but as events unfolded my interest grew but then the story would start to wane again. And I have to say that the epilogue did nothing for me.

I am admittedly a slow reader and I managed to finish this book in 16 days, a record for me. I was clearly very engaged with this book but I liked The Goldfinch better.


message 2: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments I loved The Goldfinch but couldn't finish this.


message 3: by Joi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3830 comments I LOVED this when we read it in April (I think me and Anita are the only two who gave it 5 stars). I really liked reading the dysfunctional characters, I guess I enjoy reading about characters I can't relate or sympathize with. Makes our own lives look better!

The Goldfinch is on my radar to read soon because of how much I liked this one.


Kathy I am glad I read The Secret History first. I thought The Goldfinch was so much better. It had to do with the characters. I, too, felt greater sympathy with the kids in The Goldfinch. I guess, in The Secret History, the students made the choices that led to their dilemmas. Where, in The Goldfinch, I felt that the kids were handling what life gave them.


Ladyslott | 1880 comments Diane wrote: "but in The Secret History these eccentric college students did not garner my sympathy when things started going south. The story was slow to start for me but as events unfolded my interest grew but then the story would start to wane again. And I have to say that the epilogue did nothing for me.
..."


Agree 100%


Anita Pomerantz | 6647 comments I feel as though people who liked The Goldfinch, don't like this book. And vice-versa. So interesting with the same author.

As Joi mentions, yes, I loved this book. And also love dysfunctional characters so there's that!


message 7: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3018 comments I appreciated the complexity and the skill of the writing in The Goldfinch, but I can't say that I loved the characters. Secret History doesn't tempt me. I think I'm done with this author.


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