Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Goldfinch…read and reviewed.

I finished it!!  
I may have high-fived myself for simply completing every line of this 800-page novel.  
Well, 771 pages, to be exact.

Donna Tartt's latest…The Goldfinch.  

I mentioned a month or so back I was reading it…literally, engrossed.
I think I said that I basically, couldn't put the book down.  

But I did.  

I found that I prematurely raved about it.  
I don't mean to sound that all was lost.  

It's good.  
Is it THE BEST book I have ever read?  

It is worthy of most of the praise it has received.
After all, it is a Pulitzer-prize winning novel.

However, it stalled on me. 
 I found myself skipping…skimming sections...then feeling guilty and going back to read it. 
Several times I wanted to abandon it all together.
At one point, I even considered using it as a doorstop.

It was filled with so much unnecessary detail…which dragged on and bored me.  
At times it made me feel anxious. 
But…like the poor finch chained…so was I to finishing it.  

The jist is...a young boy named, Theo, loses his mother in an explosion at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art.  
She dies.  
Amid the explosion, aftermath, confusion, etc.  
He steals her favorite painting.  

It's his journey of loss, life, guilt, burden, deceit and why most of us survive…love.  

Fabritius's famous painting, Goldfinch -- you know the one?

A golden-colored finch…chained to its post.  

Reminding me of Theo…chained himself to this piece of art.  
Basically, built his life around it. 

I liked this line…
"The Painting," he observes, "was the still point where it all hinged: dreams and signs, past and future, luck and fate."

I sound unimpressed.  
I guess it's just where I was when I finished the book.

I will tell you that there is a moment that my mouth dropped open.  

**spoiler alert**

It NEVER occurred to me that Boris, his friend (some friend), 
stole the painting.  
Theo never even considered (nor did I) that his friend took it.
That after all these years, it was just cardboard wrapped so carefully and stored in a temperature-controlled storage unit.

Donna, you got me.
All of his fear…the hiding…the guilt…
the what ifs…
and he didn't even have it.
I mean…his journey with the painting is the entire book…
and he didn't even end up having it.

Isn't it true that we mostly worry about things that don't even exist?

I sat there thinking…
OMG are you kidding me? 
I couldn't decide if I was like, duh…of course he stole the painting from him.
Or, berate myself in that I am also too trusting in life and to heed the lesson.
Oh, Theo.  
Damnit, Theo.

Overall, I wasn't expecting the twist.  
It brought me back around.

I did find myself angry in Theo for befriending Boris again…
But…I knew why.  

To me, in the end, it came down to Pippa.  
The girl.

He lived for Pippa…
 The painting represented how he found her…
how he devoted his life to having her one day…
remembering her every move, scent, hung on her every word…
like he did mourning his mother.

The painting he observed…was where it all hinged.  
The past
The future


In conclusion…
I found that the power of art can change a life.
That I am not the only one who seems to always be in love with the wrong person…
 and yet find, in the end, we are all flawed.
And to recognize the reoccurring themes in life…and still ignore them.

Break the chain.