The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

Book - 2015
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A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.
Publisher: New York :, Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company,, 2015.
Edition: First Back Bay paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780316055444
Characteristics: 771 pages ;,24 cm.


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Expected in theatres September 13th.

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Feb 23, 2020

What Donna Tartt needed in this book was a strong, firm editor. It's over written, the Las Vegas section is meaningless and contrived. How it managed to become a "literary" icon is a puzzle to me. This book reminds me of Bel Canto - another worshipped book. There are interesting characters in both but the plot and length and unsatisfying ending so not worth the time and number of pages it took to get to the end.

Feb 11, 2020

This book had way too much detail about mundane things. It would've been ok because of the thoughtful prose and endearing descriptions if those had been in moderation but the expounding about every little detail, i.e. three pages of trying to find a cab, three more pages about the interior of the cab plus descriptions of the music and what the cab driver looked like, two pages of crossing the street, four pages of entering a museum plus way, way, way too many internal thoughts, doubts, frustrations , internal dialogue, inability for the kid to communicate much- ten pages of a four hour incident at the museum, forty pages of foster care, more on the kid's low-life father to the rescue but -no go, forty pages of a nice man who took guardianship, some breathy intrigue thrown in, then twenty pages of teenage angst about school, droll descriptions of socialites, plus periodic blather about hoity toity art, etc, etc. Painfully long. I didn't look at first as to who the author was but I was thinking, omg, it's got to be a woman, no man would describe a teenage boy this way, yup, it's a woman author- what was she imagining a child of hers would be like ? (adoring, lost without her) was she trying to create a substitute for her own failed relationships? Do I sound like Doc on the Doc Martin series? Now that was fun. not this- Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of wonderful female authors but this is definitely Blondiewood. I don't know where all the praise accredited to her came from , some kind of bandwagon of authors who want their name on someone else's book?, even those praises were four pages long. wow. I had to skim through much of it and even that was too much. argh! It might have been a good story if it was about 1/3 the length- maybe-; Morose ending.

Feb 08, 2020

The Pulitzer prize winning novel, The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt is a masterpiece of modern fiction. It’s angsty tone creates a mood that is relatable to any teen, yet its themes are also very universal. The Goldfinch has a fairly slow pace considering how long it is, but instead of rushing through action, the story takes its time in establishing strong, vivid settings and developing its characters. Every single character in this story, whether they are present for one page or are the main character throughout the book, is distinct and compelling. The main character, Theo Decker, is a complex person, especially while navigating his life after the explosion that turns it upside down. His actions and choices are realistic considering the trauma he has been subject to. The supporting characters are all fascinating too, especially Theo’s best friend Boris, his dad Larry, and his foster father Hobie. Even though they are not the main character, Tartt puts just as much effort into their backstories and personalities, creating thoroughly fleshed out people that feel real. Just like her characters, Tartt puts ample detail into her settings. While reading The Goldfinch, I felt as though I could see and feel the environment of every scene. From the hustle and bustle of New York, with its charm and anonymity, to the suffocating sands of the Las Vegas deserts, I was fully immersed in the surroundings of the story. This book was quite a dense read, with long chapters and complex, poetic narrative, but I constantly found myself wanting to read more. It was incredibly enjoyable to delve into the melancholic perspective of Theo and to get to see the world through his eyes. Getting to see how all of the plot points culminated in an epic ending was incredibly satisfying and I finished the book without an ounce of disappointment. Overall, The Goldfinch was an absolutely spectacular read and my only wish is that I could read it again for the first time. 5/5
@nickreads of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jan 31, 2020

Enjoyable, but too much minutia in the description making it much longer than it needs to be. The setting and emotion could have been accomplished with fewer words. As is, I did not finish the entire text due to this factor.

andkel Jan 15, 2020

This book is very good writing and tells a story about how life does not always go as planned. You get caught up in this teenager's life and you just want all the best for him, even as you are reading and know that things are not good for him. A heartbreaking tale, but still full of hope.

Jan 15, 2020

Author is extremely descriptive and detailed. Takes time to read the story.

Jan 09, 2020

In The Goldfinch I fell in love with the writing style and story telling of Donna Tartt. Of course this book won the Pulitzer Prize! It is astounding.

I am not an English major or a novelist, but I found her text to be dense and thorough, her writing to be extremely revealing, exciting and inspirational. Never before I have learned so much about a story or a character. It is a long book mind you, but I could not put it down, reading it even for a minute or two when I had only a short window of opportunity open. It takes you through several era's in the protagonists life some of which will involve the 'seedy side of life', but you can't help but route for Theo with all that he has been through in his short life.

I plan to listen to the audio recording of this book next; The Goldfinch is too good to read it only once. Apparently the voice actor does an amazing job on it as well.

See "Notices" for complete summary. There is prolific drug and alcohol use. So much so that a young person may be drawn to experimentation due to the descriptive sensations of peace as described by the author. Also, anyone struggling with addictions should likely steer clear of this book.

Jan 07, 2020

You'll either love it or you'll hate it; I don't think many people walk away from this book lukewarm. In the end, I loved it. There is a lot about this book worthy of discussion. I won't attempt it here. I'll say this: you'll probably want to give up on the protagonist, but you shouldn't. We accompany him on a long journey and watch him make some poor decisions, but that's the whole point. The author shows us what grief does to us, what loneliness does, the ways in which we try to cope and get on with life, the ways we succeed and the ways we fail, and the complexities of being human. What do we substitute for the things we've lost? Who takes their place? How do we set things right when we see we've made mistakes? What are our intentions worth? The story is touching. It's intimate. It stayed with me for weeks after I closed the book, and I find myself reflecting on it still. It isn't perfect; the author, at times, offers a tedious amount of detail. I recommend it nonetheless. But brew a cup of tea and settle in; Ms. Tartt takes us along the scenic route.

Dec 22, 2019

I tried to read this book when it came out but when it got to where he went to live with the low life father and his girlfriend I put it down. I listened again five years later. I still hated the part about him living with his low life father but got past that part. The rest of the book was absolutely so worth reading. I am an artist and the better the book the better the painting. I produced a beautiful painting and had one of my most memorable books experiences. The characters will stay with me forever, I hope. I listened to the last CD three times. I hope the readers got an audio prize. I would give five stars. Jeton Kellogg

Dec 17, 2019

After a promising start this quickly descends into absurd plot development, embarrassing stereotypical characters and repetitive phrases. I finished it for my book group, but it was time wasted.

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Jan 17, 2020

Watched the film adaptation today and decide to add this quote to contrast the film script:

“Well—I have to say I personally have never drawn such a sharp line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as you. For me: that line is often false. The two are never disconnected. One can’t exist without the other. As long as I am acting out of love, I feel I am doing best I know how. But you—wrapped up in judgment, always regretting the past, cursing yourself, blaming yourself, asking ‘what if,’ ‘what if.’ ‘Life is cruel.’ ‘I wish I had died instead of.’ Well—think about this. What if all your actions and choices, good or bad, make no difference to God? What if the pattern is pre-set? No no—hang on—this is a question worth struggling with. What if our badness and mistakes are the very thing that set our fate and bring us round to good? What if, for some of us, we can’t get there any other way?”

Apr 17, 2017

“When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.”

Jun 16, 2015

“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?”

Jun 26, 2014

Why does it cost so much, a thing like from kindergarten class? 'Ugly Blob.' 'Black Stick with Tangles." - Boris

Apr 13, 2014

That life -- whatever else it is – is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. … It is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch (the Goldfinch painting). For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time – so too has love….

Jan 21, 2014

"A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are."


Add Notices
Jan 15, 2020

Other: Prolific drug and alcohol use. So much so that a young person may be drawn to experimentation due to the descriptive sensations of peace as described by the author. Also, anyone struggling with addictions should likely steer clear of this book.

Jan 15, 2020

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Violent loss of parent and deaths of many others. "Trauma" is the theme, so it is full of disturbing scenes.

Jan 15, 2020

Sexual Content: Under age homo-sexual sex

Jan 15, 2020

Violence: A high level of violence with graphic descriptions.

Jan 15, 2020

Coarse Language: There is a continual use of profanity throughout the book.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jan 15, 2020

LynJoan thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over

Oct 23, 2019

IDKUsername thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Oct 23, 2014

Chapel_Hill_KenMc thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary
siammarino Sep 22, 2014

Leo is in a museum in New York City when a terrorist sets off a bomb. Alive but stunned, Leo comforts a dying man who gives him a ring with instructions where to take it, and then he grabs a valuable painting of a goldfinch and makes his way out of the museum and home. His mother has died in the bombing, and his life from then on revolves around the painting, the girl Pippa who alerted him to the bomb, Pippa's uncle Hobie who takes in Teo and teaches him to restore antiques, and Boris who is just bad news. This is the story of the power of great artworks to grab you soul and not let go. It is also a powerful reminder of the plight of children who lose their parents, or whose parents don't care for them.

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