Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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Love and a good life, are they merely personal happiness, or do they make other people happy as well? When you love something that much, you may end up displacing the rest of the world from that thing or person but sometimes your love can be harmful and you must let it go. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt holds the answer to all these questions. Let’s find out and explore. As life is what it is, themes such as loss and love will be seen along with survival and death.

In The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, the story is about a 13-year-old boy named Theo who survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of art and loses his mother in the process but escapes with the real-life 1654 masterpiece, the Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius.

The novel is a long adventurous journey through present-day America and a drama of capturing one’s attention. Embraces powerful characters, with thrilling suspense and a beautiful vast story of loss and obsession of survival and self intention. The subject of the book is based on the notion that life is terrifying, death wins every time, and that deathless art is our only meaningful escape from mass entropy. 

You will feel the buzz of interesting things happening as you read the novel and you will be at the edge of your seat trying to find out what happens next. I won’t give any spoilers ahead, so you should just read and figure it out as you go because that is the joy of reading.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt | Book Review 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Quotes


Donna Louise Tartt 

Donna Louise Tartt is an American Fiction Author, was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, United States and is a graduate of Bennington College. Time magazine included her on its list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2014.

She is the author of the novel named The secret history and the little friend which is translated into thirty languages. The Goldfinch was her third novel published by little, brown and company in 2013.

An Overview of the book | The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt’s Literary fiction, “The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt,” was published on September 23, 2013. The Goldfinch was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2014. Also shortlisted for Baileys Women’s prize for fiction and National book critics circle award. The Novel was selected by Amazon Best Book of the year and listed as Number one in the Sunday Times list. New York Times Book Review editors selected the book as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013.

In a story about a young boy who loses his mother but in exchange he gains a love interest and a nice painting.  

Is the book based on a real story? The Goldfinch uses a true story about the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, who died during the mid-1650s due to an explosion that killed many in the town; few of his paintings were saved but most were destroyed. The fictional part is that his painting ” The Goldfinch ” is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where terrorist attacks happen (which was also fictional) that kills many people in the museum but there were many surprising events that connect the book to real life.

What inspired the author to write this book? According to one of her interviews, in Feb 2001, the Taliban destroyed a statue of Buddha in Afghanistan and that event was a prequel shock for her before 9/11 and that disturbed her. Several years later, Donna Tartt visited Amsterdam and saw a copy of ” The Goldfinch ” at a house sale. She was attracted to the chained little bird in the house sale. She combined these two ideas in her mind and began the long process of writing her book.

Who is the main character? Theodore Decker is the protagonist of the novel The Goldfinch, who survives the bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He is an antique dealer and an addict. The story is told in a backwards-looking first narration by Theodore Decker.

Summary of the Book | The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Thirteen years old boy Theodore “Theo” Decker’s life has turned upside down when he and his mother visits the Metropolitan Museum of art to see an exhibition of Dutch masterpieces, including the favourite paintings of his mother’s, Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch. She guides Theo through her favourite painting, The Goldfinch, which her mother studied as an art student.

Theo listened half-heartedly to his mother’s lecture about the glory of her favourite painting and didn’t care about it too much. A pretty little redhead with an elderly man caught his attention as he was looking around

 A bomb explodes in the museum, killing his mother and many other visitors present there. Theo acquired a painting that his mother adored. Later on in life, this painting leads him to a very different path.

Currently, he lives in a New York apartment with his mother, where his father is a heavy drinker and has left them. Now that his mother has been killed, and his world is shattered, he is left alone with no one to turn to and no place to go.

Later, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Confused by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by the schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him and feel distressed under the intolerable longing of his mother. He tightly holds the mysterious painting that reminds him of her mother that ultimately draws him into the underworld of art.

What can You Learn from the Book?

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The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It consists of unforgettable strong characters that capture one’s complete attention and with exciting suspense. This novel will direct you to the intense mystery of love, identity and art. There are comically repulsive characters that act more overblown in the novel, compromises some dark deeds, that have surprising twists, and that in the end are emotionally draining.

Imaginative and beautifully drawn characters weave through this coming of age novel following a grieving boy’s journey with a small painting that has escaped destruction. With its unique characters and engaging storyline, The Goldfinch is both an enjoyable story and a smart literary novel that will engage your mind and heart

These are My Thoughts on the Book

The Goldfinch is a brilliant story with memorable characters, and most of the book is beautifully written and fun to read. Doona Trott is a wonderful writer, and her novel was written in such a way that you were bound to like it.

It’s amazing how she has given details to the characters, and the development of the character was spectacular. You are going to see that transition of characters when we meet them later in the novel as opposed to when you are reading the novel and It all worked out in the end.

The only thing I don’t like is that the story moves slowly and it’s like a pretty heavy move for me. The book talks about drugs a lot, and we know this boy has a problem with them, he gets into drugs very early, but we don’t need to know everything he does, like how it feels to be high, and how it feels like taking different kinds of drugs that create detrimental emotions in me.

Rating for the Book

My Rating for this particular story is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Conclusion & Recommendations | The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I think this is a great story for anyone looking for a coming of age story. It would be an excellent summer read. The book consists of everything that you could ask for in a book, a thriller, a piece of literature, a dose of melodrama and satisfying endings. It takes the patience of the reader and rewards them for their efforts. The moral was about letting go and moving forward.

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