Whew!! What a book! I must admit this took me a lot longer to get through than I was expecting. Not because it wasn't good - it was very good - but it was definitely a "requires all your mind" type of read. Thus why it took me three beaches (New Jersey, Keowee Key & Siesta) & many trips to The Park to finish.
I picked up The Goldfinch because I love art & I love literature. Also, I heard it was the Pultizer Prize Winner for Fiction this year... better keep up to date. The way I interpreted the back teaser, I thought it would be similar to Barbara Wood's The Blessing Stone - following a specimen through the ages & looking at all the people it touched. Now that I've finished, I can safely say, that was the general idea (as Theodore Decker explains somewhat lengthily & roundaboutly those last 20 pages). Guys this book was DEEP. It's been a long time since I read one like this & days later I'm still thinking about it.
A couple thoughts & PLEASE I'd l.o.v.e to discuss in the comments!! & warning - if you haven't read The Goldfinch yet, this may cause a few spoilers.
The Narrator: I didn't quite trust Theo. As a first person narration, I didn't quite realize til the very end that Theo was literally writing the pages to this book as we were reading them. Given his admittedly heavy drug use throughout the narration, I couldn't help but feel that he was mis-communicating details, or perhaps leaving them out entirely on purpose. Theo had a need to prove himself: to his father, to Pippa, to The Barbours, et. al. Do you think he may also have felt a deep need to prove himself to we, his reader, & purposely twisted his story to do so? But then, aren't we all guilty of twisting our stories? Human Nature, yes? How'd you feel about Theo? Did you trust him?
The Length: Now I'm no Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, but this little book didn't feel so little. I guess the only place I would have cut some pages was in Nevada.. but then again, it was imperative to see the relationship grow & turn between Theo & his father. Was there any place to cut or was The Goldfinch the perfect length?
Boris: Did any of you see this coming!?!? I didn't. I was reading this part in Siesta Key when BAM. & then I was like, THEO GET WITH THE PROGRAM! I mean yes, I knew Boris was acting weird when Theo's father died, but I thought he was being a chicken. You know? All talk, no game. Wow. Did you know that all the anxiety & angst that Theo was feeling about The Golfinch in New York was completely unnecessary? WAS it even unnecessary?
The Girls: Pippa, Kitsey. Pippa, Kitsey. Pippa, Kitsey. It was like ping-pong! I felt awful for Kitsey for a long time, until I realized she was using Theo as much as he was using her. I don't know, obviously I root for true love (Pippa) but also, isn't true love just the scariest thing you could ever encounter? Man. This was one I don't want to touch with a ten foot pole. I'm pretty glad that Tarrt really did leave it up to the readers decision in the end. Who did you let Theo choose in your ending? Pippa or Kitsey?
The Painting: Have you ever seen a piece of art (or literature) that connected to your soul the way that The Goldfinch connected with Theo? I haven't, yet, but.. how incredible. I love that art & literature & really so many things that we create outlive us. That's a cool, cool thing. What were your thoughts about the power of the painting?
I'll keep it there for now. Overall, I really loved The Goldfinch. What I think is really amazing & magical about literature is that you carry an entire world between two hard back covers. All new places, things, rules, an entire society that exists purely out of the imagination of one person's mind. Donna Tarrt made a slue of in depth characters with layers & levels so utterly human we could relate to them. That is true talent.
What was your overall thought on the book?
Fun sidenote: I love the name Theo. Mostly because one of my best friend's name is Teddy (I thought this was short for Theodore Gumbleton III the whole first year I knew him... turns out its short for Edward).
Next up to discuss: + UPDATE!!! Prisoner of Heaven. I'm super excited because this is part of a triplet series rotating around my favorite book Shadow of the Wind.
UPDATE!!!! We've started a real book club in conjunction! August is #GIRLBOSS. Let's talk about it in August! Happy Summer Reading! P.S. I'm trying to expand these posts to a real thing. Anyone want to read with me? We can make appetizers & desserts & discuss over fine (read: heavily discounted) wines. Think about it :)