Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Goldfinch [Book Review]

Hi there!

Title: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Publisher: Little, Brown

Published Date:  23rd September 2013
Rating: 5 Stars



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Synopsis: It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch 
combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

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Review: The Goldfinch. Where do I start?

I read this book for my 2015 reading challenge and I am so glad for it. It’s a moving book with a main character so realistic that I wouldn’t be surprised if I met him on the street one day.

This book won the Pulitzer Prize for 2014 and if you read it there will be no question as to why. This book is truly a piece of literature and you can tell it simply from the writing style. Her style is almost poetic and strings across the words so beautifully that I wished I could inhale them. They were just that perfect. It was a pleasure to read her mouth-watering descriptions and anywhere she described I cold basically see in my mind.

I will say that this is a mammoth of a book and very character driven. If you aren’t a character driven reader and need a fast paced plot to keep you interested then I wouldn’t recommend this book to you. I did love it, but I can understand how it wouldn’t be for everyone.


The main character is Theodore Decker and we see the span of his life from a teenager and child to an adult. That’s quite a few years! He also has a very rough situation. His father was into drinking and gambling and never treated them right, so he ran off and left them. At the beginning of the book it is just him and his mother, and they are getting by. One day they happen to go to a museum. While Theo is off watching this intriguing girl and her father or possibly grandfather, his mother goes into another room to look at a painting. And then it happens – an explosion. Theodore finds himself alone in the midst of a terrorist attack.

From then on his life is never the same. He ends up talking to the possible father/grandfather man he saw earlier and is given a ring from him as he passes away. The man also keeps going on about a painting which is in the art museum. Theo gets it for him, but once he is gone he puts it in his bag and tries to find his way out of the museum. That painting so happens to be The Goldfinch.

I never thought that I would enjoy a book about paintings so much. I do like artwork and do admire it, but it isn’t the subject of my choice. Although the painting is important in the beginning and very much so in the end of the book, it isn’t so much in the middle of it. There it is more focused on Theo’s father (who he has to live with for some of the time.)

The characters were a big part of what made this novel so wonderful for me. There’s Boris who is not really a good guy, but not a bad guy either – he’s the grey area in between. In some ways he is poison to Theo, and in others not so much. But he is a good friend and I love how he takes Theo under his wing. I don’t like his character too much as an adult, but people do change so I suppose that is fair enough. There were times where I wasn’t even sure I liked Theo’s character too, but that is how it is meant to be. Hobie is another character who is just a sweetheart. He’s the good father that Theo never had, and is so wonderful. He’s the kind of man I would love to have as an uncle or something.

There are so many different topics and themes crossed in this book – drugs, drinking, artwork, theft, marriage, love, family, heartbreak, gambling, pain... all of it in this single book. Theo’s life story and the people he meets… they are so realistic. The way Tartt has written this makes me wonder if she has experienced any of this herself. I don’t think she has, but the way she has written this makes me convinced that this has to be true somehow. There couldn’t be a more realistic fiction anywhere out there.

As well as that, she gets bonus points for some of the novel being set in the Netherlands! She describes the place so wonderfully that it made me rethink how blessed I am to be here! I usually forget that the Netherlands is a unique place and does have its own culture just because of the years I have been here. But she made me appreciate this country again with the glorious way she described it.


I didn’t want the ending to come, but it was perfect for the novel.

Just read it please!

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Gif Summary:


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Quotes: “the magnetic pull of beauty – a stillness so powerful that the molecules realigned themselves around her.”

“Melting with the sorrow and loveliness, a starry ache that lifted me up above the wind swept city like a kite: my head in the rainclouds, my heart in the sky.

“So the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.”

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Which book have you read where you wish the characters were real?


Olivia-Savannah x

26 comments:

  1. Ohhh I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. After the fiasco that was The Secret History I was a little hesitant to read The Goldfinch but I might just give it a go when I have enough time to dedicate it to the book

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    1. Yes, The Secret History was so disappointing in comparison. I managed to enjoy this one a whole lot more!

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  2. I'm glad to hear how much you enjoyed this. This one is definitely on my list to get to one of these days lol.

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    1. I hope you manage to read it soon! It's well worth the investment of time ;)

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  3. That terrorist attack scene is something I’ll always remember. It’s so well-written! Great review. I also really liked this book.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I had never felt so intrigued by a terrorist attack scene in a novel. It was so well done. I am glad you liked it too ^.^

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  4. So, did the author get the details of Netherland right? =)

    Lonna @ FLYLēF

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    1. She practically nailed it! I am so sure she must have visited or something to have such a brilliant representation :3

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  5. I've had this on my Kindle over a year now! I know I will enjoy it once I get started, but it's just soooo loooong. That puts me off!

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    1. Big books can be so scary! I hope you do dive into it soon though :)

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  6. I have had this book for a very long time. I haven't quite found the time to read such a long book but who knows maybe the pages would fly by once I start. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this one as much as you did. Great review!

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    1. Yeah, long books can be intimidating but they are good for holidays. I think they will!

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  7. I am so glad you read this and loved it! I loved it as well :)

    Great review Olivia. I agreed with you in most parts and had the same sentiments as you did about Boris. I loved how raw it got at times and loved the way Tartt writes!

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    1. I am happy you could love this one as well. Tartt is an astounding writer :)

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  8. Glad you loved it so much. I own the book. But did not read it as it was too big for me. I want to read Donna Tartt's The Secret History as well

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    1. It really is intimidating with its size. But worthwhile ;)

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  9. Ahhh I still need to read this, Olivia. I'm so happy you loved it. Putting this on my April TBR for sure. :)

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    1. I hope you'll be able to love it like I did!

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  10. Okay wow! I never looked much into this book but your review has me wanting to go buy it right now and read it. <3

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    1. I hope you do choose to give it a go... it's so beautiful <3

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  11. I've heard of this book before but never thought to read it! However, it's going on my tbr now, it sounds like a great read :) The amount of pages the book has may put me off, but I'll be willing to try to read it anyway!

    abi | http://fruitofdelight.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I'm glad you've added it to your TBR! It's a big commitment but well worth the time ;)

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  12. I've never really fancied reading this one - maybe because it's deemed to be so literary and 'worthy' and I tend to find things like that pretentious. Still, sounds like you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. It's very esteemed, but I think it is surprisingly readable regardless of that.

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  13. I bought this book ages ago but never felt like picking it up. I guess it intimidates me a bit lol. But judging by your review, I think I might actually enjoy it. I guess I’m adding it to my TBR once more ^^

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    1. It's so large! But I do hope you'll enjoy it too ;)

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