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Not Quite a Masterpiece   4 comments

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After talking to a friend who had just completed a marathon, I saw a similarity to reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. At times I wondered if I would ever finish. Occasionally I was completely engrossed and enjoyed the scenery, so to speak. Ultimately, I kept returning to the question of completion, could I do it? The answer is yes. However, unlike my runner friend who was euphoric after crossing the finish line, I was simply relieved: just glad to be done.

I know Tartt has received numerous accolades (including the Pulitzer Prize) for her 771-page novel about Theo Decker and the rare painting that, at the request of a dying man in a museum explosion, he takes and has overshadowing his adolescence and young adulthood. Yet, I had an extremely hard time allowing for my suspension of disbelief to fully be in the driver’s seat.

Theo’s mother is killed in that explosion and Theo, who is 13 years old at the time, walks out of the museum practically unnoticed, certainly not unscathed emotionally, but unnoticed. Don’t bother trying to forget that he had an irreplaceable piece of art in his backpack. Through a series of temporary living situations – some better than others, drug abuse and unrealized potential, Theo doesn’t undergo too much transformation through the years. Tartt offers an interesting premise, with Theo narrating, but the story gets bogged down with too many inattentive adults and too many far-fetched situations.

Mostly, I was tired after putting the book down for good.

The Goldfinch
Three-and-a-half Bookmarks
Little, Brown Co., 2013
771 pages

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4 responses to “Not Quite a Masterpiece

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  1. I agree with you totally and have to say I would not recommend this book. Everyone else seemed to rave about it, but I just couldn’t wait to be done with it; a big disappointment.

  2. I LOVED her “Secret History” but never got around to reading “The Little Friend”-had a copy and I have NO idea what I did with it! That being said, I REALLY liked this book. Yes, at times I admit to thinking why the heck didn’t he just return the painting but I still enjoyed the ride of the book. I loved his sketches of some of his characters, esp that of Hobie.

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