Recent Reads – “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tart

If you are unfamiliar with the “Recent Reads” series, click here for an explanation.
Short story even shorter: I tell you about books I have recently read (came as quite a surprise, regarding the title, hm?)

Reading essentials


The book I want to share with you this month is one I picked up on a recommendation of another blogger. Actually, Ruth Crilly from A model recommends didn’t quite recommend it, but said that she was reading it and found it to be dragging at times, but I decided to pick it up anyway.
And I am glad, I did.
I have read Donna Tart in the past and really liked her writing, and with this book winning the Purlitzer Award 2014, it was an obvious choice.
Cover, German version


The topic:
The books main character, Theodore, looses his mother to an explosion while visiting the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Right before the tragic event he was distracted by a girl, Pippa, visiting with her grandfather.
I don’t want to give anything away, in case you are planning on reading it yourself, so let´s just say that after that event, Theodores and Pippas lifes are connected, and that this connection is symbolized by the picture of “The Goldfinch” Theodore unwillingly steals from the museum.The story is the story of a boy being severely traumatized by loosing his mother, the person he relates to the most, getting no chance to work through this and the deep confusion that accompanies him way into his adult life.
It is a story of hurting the people that really mean well and trusting the ones that don’t, just because you desperately need someone to cling to. And about those people that hurt and deceive you despite caring deeply about you.
And it is a story about developing an attitude to morality based on your experiences that is way different than the one the average reader will have, without being a genuinely bad person.
In conclusion, it is a sad and thought inducing story, making you question which person you would have become if your life had been different from what it was.

Did I like it?
It is a long read, and if you are stressed or in a hurry, it maybe isn’t the right book for you. Donna Tart takes her time, showing the struggle and confusion Theodore goes through without rushing to a (happy) ending, so I can see where the above mentioned “dragging” came from.
But to be honest, I think the slow pace adds to the atmosphere of the book, so I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Another thing to keep in mind is this: Theodore isn’t a main character you completely sympathize with. He is hurt and confused and sometimes a pain in the b**t.
To me, seeing the happy and innocent boy turn into a twisted man making questionable choices was painful, but felt right. If I imagine going through the things he went through, staying integre and sane would probably have been too much to ask.I like the kind of books that can make me cry, and especially the kind of books that will have me musing about life and people way longer than I actually read them.
Of course, having a daughter myself added another dimension. I keep wondering what experiences she will make and how they will shape her into the person she is going to be.
And I know that even if I try my hardest, I won’t be able to keep loss and hurt away from her, same as my parents couldn’t keep them away from me.
Because that is life.

Now before I burst into tears once again (I swear, those pregnancy hormones never stop working), please tell me if you have read this book and if so, what you thought of it.
And, in addition: Do you pick books because they have won prizes or don’t you care?


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