The Goldfinch is a breathtaking novel that’s worthy of its lengthy page count

The Goldfinch is a breathtaking novel that’s worthy of its lengthy page count

Meredith VanSkiver

If a novel leaves you with a warm, content feeling upon its finish, if it makes you smile when you see it’s cover, and if you want to recommend it to all your friends, it’s a good book.

If a novel makes you ache for more pages when you realize there are none left, if you find yourself thinking about it when you’re trying to fall asleep, and if you’re scared to share its greatness with too many people because then it will cease to be your little secret, it’s a great book.

The Goldfinch is a great book.

This realistic fiction novel follows Theodore Decker, who very suddenly goes from being a happy 13-year-old New Yorker, to being a survivor of a terrorist attack in an art museum that kills his mother. He’s then bounced around the country for the remainder of his adolescence, residing everywhere from one of the wealthiest penthouses in upstate New York, to the lawless and venturesome Las Vegas. Throughout his constant relocation, there is one thing that still ties him back to his mother: a stolen 17th-century painting he acquired from the attack, which shares a title with the book.

The incredible plot and captivating writing aside, the thing that truly makes this novel worthwhile is the absolutely fantastic characters. There are copious numbers of people that Theodore meets, and each is just as well developed as the one before. Whether it be his cynical yet compassionate Slovakian best friend Boris, or the ephemeral, unnamed social worker, each character feels not only well thought out, but also integral to Theo’s arc. Also, as someone who loves to find literary characters to identify with, this book was a dream full of perfect characters to choose from.

The author, Donna Tartt, masterfully writes a nearly 800-page book in which every single sentence seems crucial to the story, while also maintaining a gorgeous prose. Her descriptions are as lavish as they are concise. While reading it, I was torn between not wanting to get up until I finished the entire book and savoring my reading so that I could make it last for as long as humanly possible.

The Goldfinch was one of the most incredible reads I’ve ever had that provided me with much more than just entertainment. It taught lessons of love, loss, and the human experience that I know will stay with me far longer than the duration of a book.