The Goldfinch

Last June, when I went to Paris, my friends and I got purposely lost and ended up inside the most magical bookshop on earth; Shakespeare’s Bookstore & Co. I can’t tell you how amazing it was, the ladders, the chairs, the books! My eyes were mesmerised any my hands trembled over the most beautiful spines. Quite a while later, I walked out with Julia Child’s Cookbook and The Goldfinch in hand. Both bearing the treasured Shakespeare Stamp.

Aged thirteen Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and an absent father, miraculously survives a catastrophe that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Theo is tormented by longing for his mother and down the years he clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

My Thoughts…  First thing I noticed was that this book is HUGE. I know I’ve read a lot of “big” books but this one seemed extra long. I mean there are 864 pages! But theses are 864 pages of utter brilliance. It is not like other books in the way they blend together but instead stands on its own. I’m not saying that you will be hooked or lying awake at night in fear of the characters’ fates because in all honesty I found it quite slow moving. So slow that it took me almost three months. However, I wasn’t bored, I just took my time enjoying the story and soaking up the beautiful descriptions. Donna Tartt really focused on the little details making this book immensely vivid. If there is anything going for this book it has to be how stunningly breathtakingly written it is.

[ as a result from reading this book]

The Goldfinch, in fact, is a painting. And as a student who once upon a time studied art I found myself drifting back in love with it. Even if you have never understood or admired art, this book will really give you a feel for the mysterious beauty in masterpieces. As I read it, I felt that pull when a book makes you want to do something – the inspiration a book can give. I wanted to grab my paintbrush and just paint ( so naturally I did at 10:30pm).
 I wanted to walk through an empty gallery and just look. To see the little paint strokes and ask the questions The Goldfinch had influenced.

But aside from the Art and the beauty of the words, the troubled life of Theo plays a major role in the plot. Let’s face it, no one who is going to survive a disaster and be left completely alone is ever going to be perfectly fine. From that moment on Theo was, for lack of a better word, damaged. This book details his life from 13 to adulthood in a modern world that shows life as it is. It is terribly sad tragically raw but with a deeper inner meaning that brings the end to a stunning finish.

The Characters…
    Theo ~ As the main character, I saw  a lot of change in him as he grew up. Not all good, but not all bad either. He is one of the most flawed characters I have ever encountered.  And in some ways also the most real. I pitied him, sympathised with him, admired him and deplored him.
    Hobie ~ Definitely my favourite character. I just loved his ways and understanding.  I admired him as a passionate worker and also as an ordinary man who opened his door with care and equality.


“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life”

“But sometimes, unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me gasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illumined in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.”

 “That life – whatever else it is – is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”

Happy Reading!
Marian  ^_^


  • Neal Kind January 6, 2015 at 11:48 am're talented ^_^
    Julia Child reminded me of the movie "Julie and Julia",seen it?
    The books seems interesting 😀

  • Marian January 6, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Really? Talented is not a word I'd use, and also I'm not sure what you're talking about…
    YES!! That's how I fell in love with her. And blogging. I watched it with my sister and my aunt and neither of them were very interested but by the end I was blown away. I can't explain it. It was cooking, blogging and a movie combined together. That is pretty great in my opinion. So anyway, Julia Child is one of my favourite persons in the world. But seriously, those recipes are ridiculously complicated….
    It is interesting. Compelling. ^_^

  • Neal Kind January 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Trust me you're talented 😛
    Yes exactly cooking and blogging and Amy Adams and Meryl Streep talk about a good movie,I referred it to my sister she liked it 😀
    That movie kind of helped me decide whether to or not to blog 😀

  • Dian THC January 7, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Hi Marian, you must have really enjoyed yourself at the bookstore. I actually have the Goldfinch as an e-book in my phone for sometime, but I've never gotten round to actually read it. Maybe I'm just waiting to get hold of the physical copy, haha. Love the quotes. And your painting is really beautiful as well. 🙂

  • July Emmance January 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Wow! From the way you described the bookshop, I really wanna go now 🙂 I've never heard of the book…. Maybe I'll give it a try!

  • Marian January 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    hahaha… you're funny :L
    *nods* yuss!!! Aw, that's nice. I think it's a love it or hate it kind of movie.
    Really? Cool 🙂 it's funny how little things can affect us ^_^

  • Marian January 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Hey 😀 Oh I did! Enjoyed doesn't even begin to cover it. Apparently I was in there for almost an hour but it only felt like five minutes. I wish I could love in there ^_^
    I understand – physical books are far superior. I just read my first ebook (Intrepid, ever heard of it?) and was a bit… disgruntled by it at the start. But then I loved how you could highlight quotes and bookmark pages and see how much percent you read. However physical books all the way! I think you'd enjoy The Goldfinch.
    Aw, thank you! ^_^

  • Marian January 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Words cannot describe it! That bookshop is just the most incredible place in the world! Everyone who loves books should add this to their list of "places to visit before I die".
    You should definitely give it a try! ^_^

  • Sunny Smith January 8, 2015 at 3:30 am

    I have to first say how jealous I am of you. You got to go to Paris! What a lovely vacation!

    I've seen this book at the library, but this is the first review that I've seen of it. It sounds so good! And I love that it inspired you to paint! I love it when art is in conversation with other art.

  • Marian January 8, 2015 at 11:42 am

    hehe… yeah… it was pretty amazing! Took a lot of saving and organisation though. My Dad was terrified that something like Taken would happen. 5 teenagers alone in a foreign city… again :L

    Speaking of art and Paris – I would love to go back to the Louvre. This book has brought a new appreciation for Art. ^_^

  • Rita January 11, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Ooooh, WOW! This book sounds amazing, especially if it took you 3 months and you never got bored, haha! 😀 I would LOVE to go to that bookshop. And since you think this book is beautiful I'll have to put it on my TBR list. Lovely review, Marian! xx

  • Marian January 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Haha, yeah, I was surprised I didn't get bored. It's just so well written.
    Who wouldn't love to go to that bookshop? – it is incredible! I just want to live there 😀
    Thank you! ^_^ x

  • Emily June 6, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Goosebumps goosebumps goosebumps. The brackish grief one is one of my stand-outs too, I love that quotation so much. I have named a character in my book Theo after Theo, who was among my very favourites of 2015 (as you now, because I literally never shut up about it, this was my best book of '15).

    I thought the quotation was, "it is a joy and a privilege to love a deathless object", at least that's what I've been saying since I read it, so I was surprised it's actually "what Death doesn’t touch"! Weird how your brain can trick you like that. Or maybe he says both. Anyway, GETTING AWAY FROM THE POINT!

    I'm so glad you loved it (though I can't believe you "weren't hooked", I swear for the three weeks or w/e I was reading it I didn't live my own life, only Theo's), and I don't know hoooow we've never talked about this before! All the characters, though. As I say Theo is incredible but I adore Hobie and Pippa and Boris and Mrs Barbour and just HOW does she create such flawed characters who are yet so wonderful?!

    My favourite lines are the big description of his love for Pippa. She was the golden thread running through everything …

    The art is incredible and as an artist and art lover I adored all of her observation. The final lines of the book are so amazing.

    I love your painting! Watercolour, right? Absolutely beautiful!

    OH, this book. I'm going to go now but you know I could talk for hours.


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