Customer Reviews for

The Goldfinch

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

107 out of 122 people found this review helpful.

Any book of Donna Tartt's is like a miracle of reading. She is

Any book of Donna Tartt's is like a miracle of reading. She is the closest thing to reading a Dickens sort of novel today with its density of characters and storyline, mysteries and details of the most minute and miracles of writing. To read one of her books is to exp...
Any book of Donna Tartt's is like a miracle of reading. She is the closest thing to reading a Dickens sort of novel today with its density of characters and storyline, mysteries and details of the most minute and miracles of writing. To read one of her books is to experience a travel that's like no other. Reading "The Goldfinch" is like that. It's her best effort thus far, I think. It's simply the most amazing. And, that doesn't mean I don't think you should read her other two books!





I found myself jumping up several times in glee and forcing my husband just to listen to small descriptions of the otherwise mundane in this novel. She writes so beautifully that the union suit of a miner hanging on a bathroom shower curtain becomes iconic and gorgeous! It actually is so real, it lives and breathes!! Amazing stuff...so you can imagine how the rest of her story comes to life. The repair and care of antique furniture becomes so precious and such an act of love, it reaches your soul.





Tartt's characters are to love, hate, to sympathize with, to disparage, to want to reach out for. They are pitiful, disgusting, harmful, harmless and worthy of your most tender feelings. She runs the gamut. You become fully engaged...it's impossible not to. They are so alive.



This is a story about relationships of all kinds: parenting, friendship, love. There's fear and selfishness and other emotions from basic relationships. It's a story of redemption and finding ones place in the world. It's an exploration of the world from many sides of life.



I will admit there is so much to take in in this novel that I couldn't just sit down and read it fast like some books. I had to take it in parcels. I wanted to savor the words and the journey of its characters, particularly the primary one, Theo. I've always felt that way about Tartt's books. They are the kind you don't want to finish quickly because when you do, they'll be all gone! I hate to turn the last page.



I would welcome you on this journey of a special read. It's unusual. It's one that will charm you and touch your heart. It will cause you to stop and smile, laugh, cry out in surprise, feel hurt and even offended for the characters. I'd be very surprised if you don't love it as much as I have.



Donna Tartt is a genius author of our times. Not to read her is like not reading Joyce Carol Oates.



posted by Humbee on October 31, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

78 out of 115 people found this review helpful.

A miserable read.

This is the story of who boy who suffers a tragedy that sets his life off into a downhill spiral of self destructive behavior. This self destructive behavior goes on, in tedious detail, for 700 pages. Then in the last 50 pages he "sort of" redeems himself. But in the...
This is the story of who boy who suffers a tragedy that sets his life off into a downhill spiral of self destructive behavior. This self destructive behavior goes on, in tedious detail, for 700 pages. Then in the last 50 pages he "sort of" redeems himself. But in the end he's still a miserable soul.
I hate to quit a book in the middle so i just kept plugging alond, hoping it would get better but it never did. I read all the way to the end. What a waste of time! This miserable story could have been told in half as many pages.

posted by Anonymous on December 4, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

    Ok read

    Three quarters of the story was interesting with engaging characters. Unfortunately the end of the novel fell into a tedious and mind-numbing description of self-absorbed introspection by the main character. The story should have ended with the recovery of the Goldfinch. Disappointingly, the author continued on with a needlessly long and boring narrative. I wish that I had stopped reading, rather than waste my time wading through to the end.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2013

    The author has a very good writing style which kept me going thr

    The author has a very good writing style which kept me going through the first half of the book while it wended its way through adventure and plot turns. You couldn't figure out where the book was going, a trait retained through the end. But after awhile, as the events unfolded, it became more of a discourse on drug use as one unlikely event was placed on top of another. The last 150 pages or so were read to find out how the book would end, having invested over 600 pages of reading by then. And the conclusion, filled with its philosophical discussions came as a disappointment when compared to the events that occupied the first half of the book. It wasn't a bad read, and its style held through to the end. But the unfolding of the plot dampened the result. It is a long read, a well written read, but in the end not a satisfying one.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Goldfinch is a novel of a boy who is given one of the world¿

    The Goldfinch is a novel of a boy who is given one of the world’s most famous paintings, by a stranger, during a terrorist attack.  It is also a book that vividly paints the idiom, “No good deed goes unpunished” while adding the phrase, “and no punishment is without reward.”  The essence of the book is excellent.  When Ms. Tartt writes action, dialogue, plot points and descriptions of the locations within this book, there were few better books published this year.  This excellence, however, is often lost among the (seemingly) endless discourse of the narrator, Theodore “Theo” Decker, about the minutiae of an observation, memory, place visited or the present distraction suffered by the Hero.  The book would have been on par with Gone Girl were it 400 pages shorter, alas, it is almost 800 pages.
    Theo Decker’s father went to work one day and never returned.  They learned of his abandonment weeks after the fact when he contacted them.  His mother, already working to support the family, was making Theo’s life as full as possible when they stepped into a museum to escape a thunderstorm at the absolute wrong moment.  What occurs in the hour they were looking at the paintings was a moment that defined Theo’s life for the next 13 years (the duration of the book).  He lives with the family of a schoolmate, a wealthy New York Old Money clan that embraced him quickly.  When his father shows up to “claim” him, he relocates to Las Vegas, where the safety, direction and care he knew in NYC is nonexistent.  He meets Boris, a Russian immigrate whose father is as dependable as is Theo’s; they are left to raise themselves.  Theo moves back to New York City in hopes of finding the life he once knew and any memories he can find of his mother.  In all these moves, he takes with him the painting handed to him during the disastrous museum visit.  
    How an adolescent can keep a world famous painting safe and a secret, all the while worrying what to do with it, yet never considering returning it to the museum, is never addressed.  The issue of “what to do with MY painting” is so frequently raised that it becomes but one of the distractions of a plot that, eventually, fulfills the promise of being a fine story of life, friendship, fidelity, faith and destiny with a bit of mystery, intrigue and violence in the mix to give it flavor.  There is a moment of graphic violence, descriptions of violence done to a child and plenteous drug use within its pages.  
    I doubt I will read another of Ms. Tartt’s books unless she finds an editor that knows her/his job.  There are too many words used to relate the story.  I felt, at points, that she was testing the editor (and reader) to see how much she could write that had little to do with the plot flow and it be included within the pages of this book.  Her other two novels, according to the dust jacket, have been translated into 30 languages, if this one is likewise translated, I hope it is done with more clarity and succinctness than is found on these pages.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2014

    Tried many times but couldn't finish this book. Characters not b

    Tried many times but couldn't finish this book. Characters not beievable, language and descriptions distasteful. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2014

    This is a new story line for me.  An art heist and how it change

    This is a new story line for me.  An art heist and how it changes the lives of it's innocent victims.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    The lady can write, but she does get carried away with herself.


    The lady can write, but she does get carried away with herself.  This nearly 800 page tome badly needed an editor.  At half the length this still could have been taut, exciting and full of insight about the place of art in our lives, as well as the randomness of life.  She just  tells us too much .  Allow the reader to do some of the thinking, and a lot more of the work  Ms. Tartt.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2014

    Interesting. A lot of interesting characters and there are some

    Interesting. A lot of interesting characters and there are some great ideas here. But the ending is very abrupt and at times I just wasn't very interested in continuing. I finished the book but was a little disappointed.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    Beautiful writing spoiled

    I wish I could be more positive about this book because there is a lot of beautiful writing here. However, it's spoiled by lack of editing (a little too common in contemporary fiction these days). Also, the ending is just stupid. If you haven't figured out a way to tell us the 'moral' of your story thru your story, don't tack on an ending to explain it to us.

    When I am given 722 pages to get through, I expect something substantial and this book disappointed. If this book had been 350-400 pages, I would've been able to forgive some of its flaws.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    You will either love it or hate it

    I will be honest and say I skimmed through many pages of this book trying to move forward in the story line. The author writes pages and pages of dialogue that just drag out a scene for way to long. Yes it is well written but it did not need to be so long. The story idea was a good one but the many pages of Boris's monologues eventually wore me out and ruined the significance of his character for me. And the ending just rolled slowly to a depressing sputter. Was expecting a whole lot more from a pulitzer prize winning book. I guess they give these types of awards to those who can write flowery prose and don't consider a well planned and humming plot. You are forwarned.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2014

    I wish the author would have tightened the story and spent less

    I wish the author would have tightened the story and spent less time going around in circular thoughts that seemed more like exercises in writing pretty sentences.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    I didn't want to stop reading The Goldfinch, but at the same tim

    I didn't want to stop reading The Goldfinch, but at the same time I often was frustrated by the amount of the story that seemed to drag on.  I agree with some others that the drug use started to become overdone and tedious, and the ending felt like a paper you would read in college with someone analyzing the novel and its underlying meaning.  Strange ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Didn't live up to the recommendation

    I found the book to be very long and drawn out. The story line was interesting but it was lost in the unnecessary extras. Although I finished the book, I was ready to give up long before the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Recommend if you have the time and patience

    The novel has excellent moments ( for example the museum visit and tragic event) and at times the author writes at a level of a great writer especially when she describes the main character, his wealthy friends, and Russian characters. I did find the book too long and at times unbelievable. I read this novel for my book club and probably would not have completed reading it if I didn't expect to discuss it. Andy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Concept But Lacks In Execution

    A friend of mine said she had a hard time getting into this book. I had the opposite problem; I had a hard time finishing it. Which I think is worse. Shouldn't one want to race to finish a book? Anyway, the concept is good. A different take on "Girl with the Pearl Earring' as this wasn't about the artist or the making of this painting. Rather it centers on Theo Decker and his adventures with the painting. This book is in serious need of editing. It would have been much better at 300-400 pages. At 750+ it gets tiresome in the extreme. By the end I didn't care what happened to Theo and Boris. And they don't seem to either. There is wandering in the wilderness feeling throughout the narrative. Without ever providing any insight or leading the characters out of it either. Just an intense sense of ennui. Which is what the book left me with as well.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2015

    It is a very long saga of despair, depression, & addictions.

    It is a very long saga of despair, depression, & addictions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2015

    Good beginning and middle...

    I was intrigued by the characters and enjoyed the detailed descriptions through much of the book, but towards the end the story seemed to drag on and i had to push through to finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2015

    Some people really love this book...

    But it was not one of my favorites. The premise of the story is a bit contrived, it took me about 200 pages to really get into it, I just couldn't care about the main character (except to find out what happened), and got tired of reading about substance-induced experiences. It is well-written, but way too long.

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  • Posted November 11, 2014

    Good story, but it got lost sometimes into the drug culture...en

    Good story, but it got lost sometimes into the drug culture...enough is enough

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2014

    I was looking forward to reading the Goldfinch. On the visceral

    I was looking forward to reading the Goldfinch. On the visceral level the book might be fascinating, but some pages require good editing. Only some parts of the novel are compelling. In the very beginning I enjoyed reading it. The terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the death of Theo’s mother and his emotional roller coaster are very heartbreaking. However, this book is supposed to be fiction, but not fantasy. Being originally from Russia myself gives me the opportunity to analyze some details much more critically. The cultural life of people from Eastern Europe is not well researched by the author. While working on the book, she should have consulted more people from Russia and Ukraine. The narrative is solely based on some myths and stereotypes. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are not widely read in Russia nowadays. Especially, they are not widely read in Ukraine due to the fact that many Ukrainians enjoy reading their own writers. Dostoevsky’s novels are supposed to be a relic of the nineteenth century and are read only by highly intellectual individuals or students as a part of their high school or college assignment. Many teenagers find these books too boring, so they just try to obtain the summary somewhere. Most Russians like to read modern crime fiction, fantasy or love novels. The author should have done a better research on what is read by Russian or Ukrainian teenagers. Typically, such thugs as Boris’s dad never carry any books with them, so it would be almost impossible for the boy to obtain it in Nevada in Russian. “The Idiot” is a very thick book; it contains many nineteenth century expressions that are not used today. The author said that Boris’s Russian wasn’t excellent because he had spoken Polish and Ukrainian more often, so it would be almost impossible for him to understand this novel. Unfortunately, the mental and verbal capabilities of children are not deeply studied by Ms Tart. Some other cultural aspects are not researched as well. The description of the Russian party in New York does not seem to be truthful. The normal Russians do not glorify Stalin; and they would never put any Stalin’s era decorations on their Christmas tree. He is considered to be an awful dictator, especially by people from the immigrant community in the U.S. I doubt those people could not afford some cheap made-in-China Christmas decoration. The old soviet coat worn by Boris is also an absolute nonsense. I would believe in it if he was ninety years old because some old people like to wear cloths bought when they were much younger. In the world of modern globalization, all the American, Russian, Ukrainian, and Australian stores look pretty the same; they are all full of made-in-China goods. I would never believe that Boris’s dad, who travelled around the world so much, didn’t have money for a cheap modern coat. The book definitely has other flaws, but these seem the most ridiculous to me. I apologize for my tautology, but the end of the book is endless. The author keeps repeating the same things over and over again. I only liked a couple of pages devoted to the remarkable painting, the artistic work of Fabritius. These pages are brilliant! The book also contains some unnecessary description of furniture restoration and Theo’s business with Hobie. These details do not have a strong connection to the main idea of the story. In general, I can’t say that the novel isn’t interesting, but it needs a good deal of editing.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    J+a@ja.

    My 3 year old brother downloded this book and im only 10 and it was ok if anna is out there hey comeover and maybe stau the night buy

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