Earlier this month I read the book The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The reviews of the book have been largely excellent; people as varied as professional reviewers, published authors and everyday bibliophiles swoon when describing it. I eagerly plunged in–it is nearly 800 pages long and hefty to hold–and I really wanted to love it.
The emotion I felt when I finished the book was relief.
Tartt’s writing is at times beautiful, but I was largely disappointed. After living in NYC for nearly 30 years, the premises of the first section’s main event–an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and what happens to the main character–struck me as ridiculous and unbelievable. After that, it was difficult to surrender completely to the novel’s spell. (Funny thing, I never had a problem with the Hunger Games series or any of the Harry Potter books.) The magic I sought and expected never appeared.
On a brighter note, I rave about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks and Truth in Advertising: A Novel by John Kenney. The characters in each are very real and believable; they got under my skin and into my brain, and I thought about them more than once after the back cover closed.
I recommend them highly, but the final vote is yours, dear reader. Let me know what you think if you decide to read them, and send me your recommendations for others you’ve loved.
There can never be enough good books.