Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

Published 2013

First Sentence
"While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years."
Publisher's Description:

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld.

Dear Reader,

I finally got around to reading one of the most talked about books of 2013, The Goldfinch. This story follows Theo Decker, a boy who survives a horrible accident at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which then follow him throughout the years as he grows older. Theo becomes the sad orphan with loss surrounding him. During his teen years, he meets Boris, who he becomes best friends with. 

The book doesn't actually have much plot, it does have some big turning point events that bring us many philosophical questions. For Example, would Theo be different if he didn't become an orphan so young? This book brings up many "what if" questions, mostly about the choices made and events that play out. I don't want to delve to deep because as River Song always says, "Spoilers!" I can skim over some of the themes Tartt forces us to think about while reading this book. 

Theo and Boris give off this yin/yang personality types. Theo is the grounded, depressed and brooding type, while Boris just wants to have fun and follows whatever path benefits him the most. Boris views Theo's brooding as strange and doesn't understand why he can't just enjoy and let go. I loved the dynamic between the two. It was fun watching Boris pull Theo down the path of trouble, which undeniably gave Theo a more exciting life. So what is more important? Living a safe life that will include the stupid all american dreams of white picket fence. Maybe this isn't YOUR dream and I always hate how the typical American believes this is what we should strive for. Maybe this isn't for everyone! I think Boris knows this about life and he accepts that sometimes doing the "wrong" thing might be the "right" thing for him, later in life karma catches up and maybe not in the bad way you'd expect it to.

This book made me think, quiet a bit... about things that I haven't thought about in quite some time. I really understood the point the Author was making about grey morals and those borders you sometimes have to cross. Nothing is black and white, I know... such a cliche but so very true. You can't point a finger at someone and say they've never done something against the rules. Everyone has and everyone will, whether you repent for it in church or just sit and brood over it yourself... there's that moment when you ask yourself, "Why? Why is this wrong? Who made this rule? Who is the one who decides right from wrong?" My opinion is that it should be YOURSELF. You should decide if the consequences of your actions are morally wrong by how they'll make you feel. This is obviously easier done after you've been around long enough to learn from past mistakes but I do believe that the majority of people are inherently good people, and if given the choice (without a rule stapled to it), they'd chose the option that will be the best for everyone in the long wrong. Nobody wants to feel guilt, remorse or feel that stabbing pain from doing something you consider wrong. What if we took that out of the equation? That would be interesting, wouldn't it?

But I digress, I believe Boris felt this way and this was one of those debates that popped back into my head like a long lost friend. I imagined myself running to meet this bundle of philosophy and wrapping my arms around it, attempting to untangle the mess it worked itself into. Getting back to the book, as you can see The Goldfinch wasn't what was expected, it wasn't the literary mystery I thought it would be. The mystery was more within the personality of the characters and how they'd turn out in the end. Maybe more of a "coming of age" story than a "mystery". Do I think this surprise stopped many people from enjoying the book for what it ACTUALLY was? Yes, I do... and that's a shame. But for those going into a book that throws you a curve ball in a different but welcoming direction, just embrace it... you'll thank yourself in the end. 

Happy Reading,

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  1. This was my favorite book of 2013 and I get a little bit jealous every time I see someone else has read it for the first time. I'm already itching to go back and read it again!

  2. That's how I feel about so many books, I like that way you put it!


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