This book was wonderful in that it was a total pageturner but didn’t feel like binging on junk food. And bonus: it took me over a week to read! I hate when I get really into a book and–bam–it’s over. By the time this one reached its denouement I was ready, but it by no means dragged on past its prime. It takes a great story to keep a reader engaged for 755 pages and The Goldfinch rose to the challenge.
I tend to gravitate toward art that is character driven–in literature, film, and even in music–which means that the stuff that speaks to me is often lacking in more technical aspects and considered cheap and tacky by critics. But in The Goldfinch I found humanity that drew me in as well as layered and subtle themes of beauty, mortality, and obsession. The book follows Theo from early adolescence into his late twenties as he grapples with trauma, grief, addiction, depression, and guilt. It sounds sad, and it is, but it’s also somehow life-affirming and reassuring. I don’t want to spoil the outcome, but if a nihilist like Theo can say something like this, then that gives me hope:
Some questions were left unanswered at the end and that’s okay, because it leaves me free to imagine what I hoped became of Theo without alienating other readers who would have wanted something different. There is no happily ever after in real life–not because people can’t be happy, but because the story doesn’t end there. I love that this story was left open-ended without it feeling like an obvious open door for a sequel (as is so often the case in the cheap and easy reads that I devour like potato chips). In short, it’s like public radio–at once entertaining and intellectually stimulating. It’s a beach read that you won’t feel guilty about or embarrassed to be reading in public (ahem Fifty Shades of Gray). I highly recommend it.
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