Book Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Contemporary
Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2014), National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Fiction (2013), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Fiction (2013), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee (2014), Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction (2014), Paris Review Best of the Best (2013).
ISBN 0316239879
1240 pages
Goodreads, Books Depository

Hypes, other than being mass market tools for confusion, are double edged swords. They can easily bring the object in question to stupefying heights, and just as easily bring it six feet under due to disappointment inflicted and an overall unmet satisfaction. The Goldfinch is one of those books that appear to bask in justified hype (‘Omg, Dickensian!’), and such words aren’t thrown around lightly, right?

Theodore Decker’s life is the kind of fucked up you would say you’re sorry for but  thank your lucky stars deep in your heart that such bad luck didn’t befall on yours. Having been caught smoking in school, Theo braces himself as he and his mother make their way down to the principal’s office on an otherwise sunny, uneventful Tuesday morning. Sunny soon turns to rainy as a terrorist bomb goes off in the museum they made a special stop for, killing his mother and signifying the start of a downward spiral into despondency. On his way out of the wreckage, Theo (for whatever reason) takes with him Carel Fabritius’s masterpiece, The Goldfinch, as well as a bejeweled ring that was behest to him, both of which would serve as his lifelines later in life.

Coming of age stories can be really fun to read. We are taken on fictional journeys that mirror some of our own, and are comforted that we are not alone in our personal struggles which can seem so lonely at times. We watch as the characters grow into adults, and feel a sense of completion and satisfaction, much like how a parent would feel, whether their children turn out to be successful or not.

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