Falling in Love, Or Not

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.

1 thought on “Falling in Love, Or Not

  1. Well, we have a real disagreement on The Goldfinch! What I remain awed by is Tartts ability to speak in voices so disparate (Russians, teenage hooligans, antique furniture restorers) and so perfectly expressed. I, too, felt relief at the end, but not for the same reason you did: I was just glad that series of wild, awful, scary rides had been resolved with minimum damage to the perpetrators as well as those on the other end.

    Interestingly, too, this is the first major (read: long novel) book I’ve been able to concentrate on fully since my husband’s death; I’ve had to stick to magazines or short story collections, and have read virtually nothing serious for two years. This book let me see that my brain has not actually turned to mush, and I can stick to one book without feeling the need to hop up and “do” something that doesn’t really need doing all that instantly.


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