In an effort to read the book before seeing the movie and finally join the world of real “readers” once more, I finally picked up The Goldfinch, the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning book by Donna Tartt. Like the Secret History, I feel like I’ve been meaning to read it for years, but I have big book commitment issues, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed the book. I’d give it 4 stars primarily because a lot of the stuff with Boris & the mafia-type guys bored me, but I liked it overall.
Theo Decker is 13 and suspended from school. While off to a meeting at that very school, he and his mother, who he worships in that single-child-bad-dad type way, stop into the Museum of Modern Art. They are seperated–there’s an explosion–and when Theo comes to, he somehow leaves the museum clutching the painting that his mother loved. The rest of the book follows Theo’s life after his mother’s death–being taken in by a friend’s wealthy family, moving to Vegas with his alcoholic, gambling father and his new girlfriend, falling in with Boris, a friend who will become more important later, and ultimately, ending up on a dark, twisty path because of that one little painting. Along the way he meets Hobie, a kind older antique craftsman/furniture buff, Pippa, the Barbours, all sorts of people. There’s art talk and so much furniture, lots of drugs and alcohol, travels across Europe, dips into depression and drug-fueled anger, the lot of it.
At the end, though, it’s a book about loving something and obsession and how loss shapes you or doesn’t shape you as a person and the characters are super interesting and I actually liked how she did the time jumps (they don’t always work in some books…) and yeah, I’m excited to see the two and a half hour movie. Plus, after reading the book, I kind of think Ansel Elgort is PERFECT for the role and the same goes for Jeffrey Wright.
Also yes, now I do feel compelled to read her other novel, The Little Friend, though I may save that for 2020 since, based on her past publication history, we won’t get another Donna Tartt novel til 2022 at the earliest, and maybe 2024.