Thoughts on The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt?
Boring, too long and drawn out.
Exactly – it was like the same story over and over again. I have never been so angry when I finished a book before. It was so long and I only finished it because everybody said it was so good. I will never get that time back!
@Alison I kept waiting for something really good to happen…
@Linda I know – he had a chance to change his life, didn’t take the opportunity, and then that just repeated over and over.
Hard to read, good at first, but then it got weird.
I ended up liking the book, but thought the Vegas part was way too long!
I felt the same.
I wonder if she meant it that way. The drug use, the family dysfunction. A neverending cycle for so many. No escape for the characters, so no escape for the reader.
Looking back, it was the Vegas part that really resonated for me. Those boys no one cared about, the adults in their lives behaving so neglectfully and abusively. Horrible step mothers..There are a lot of them out there. And we should care more.
@Larissa very well said.
Overall, I found it worth reading. It had about 100 pages that could have been edited out but I did like it.
Were they toward the end?
@Kate It’s been a long while since I read it, but if I remember correctly they were in the middle. Far enough along that I did not want to quit reading altogether.
@Kate I bet she’s talking about the part that took place in Vegas.
Like two different books crammed together! First half was good, hated second half.
I loved it!
Me, too. Loved!
Me too. But my book group was pretty evenly split. Loved it or hated it
After I finished it I could not figure out what all the hype was about.
I really liked it.
Hated it. I felt every character was without redemption. Very disappointed. It was the first book I ever had to challenge myself to finish, always hoping for a turn around.
Yes, needed editing! I slogged my way through it and was glad I did but was conflicted about continuing at times.
I loved every single written word!
I would have liked it better if Boris had a bigger role.
I fell in love with Boris.
@Kate me too! I want a Part Two with Boris as the main character.
Wasn’t a fan, only read it as it won the Pulitzer
Wonderful. A reminder of what made Dickens so enjoyable.
LIKE the author’s first name! LOL. #Silly
She could have told twice the story in half the time. I mostly liked it, but was dissatisfied overall.
I loved the first half of the book. Then when the boy went to live in Las Vegas it changed so much that I hardly recognized it. Didn’t finishit.
I don’t think I liked it.
Great book by a great author.
Loved AND hated it. Overall well worth it!
Meh. Took to long to get any good.
The Secret History was better.
The writing was phenomenal!
I liked it in the beginning then I skimmed through the end
I loved it.
It’s ok. Was disappointed but I read it. I’ll give you mine for free. Lol
I loved it. The ending was beautifully written. I love to reread the ending thoughts.
Absolutely loved but I’m a huge Donna Tartt fangirl!!!
Felt like Tartt showed a lot of self indulgence with the Goldfinch. The thing about Tartt’s novels – I can’t decide if I like them or not but they do stay with me. That said, I think Goldfinch and Secret History are worth the read.
Our book group liked the book, but thought it was unnecessarily L-O-N-G!
I found it very depressing . . . sometimes when I feel that way during the book, eventually I find meaning in the depression . . . but not this time. Guess that is how life is sometimes . . . but it’s not a book I recommend to folks very often.
One of my all time favorites!
Loved loved loved it!!!!!
Didn’t want to finish it.
I had to stop half way through when the boy said that at the age of 14 nobody loved him!!! Too painful. About 2 months later I finished it. I just liked it but the characters haunted me for a long time!!
I enjoyed it. Loved some of the plot twists and i thought the characters were wonderfully written.
I loved it !
I really struggled to finish it. The Secret History was much better.
I was sorely disappointed in this book. It was so highly acclaimed, but all the hype didn’t measure up in my humble opinion.
I can’t figure out why so many people loved it. It was drawn out and depressing. Definitely unnecessarily long. I was happy to be done with it. Had a lot of potential though. The beginning had me hooked pretty quickly
I agree. I slogged through it but it definitely could have been a hundred pages shorter.
Best book I ever read. That said, the part of the book that took place in Las Vegas was soooo hard to get through. But maybe she meant it to be that way??? Child abuse, child neglect, teenage drug use, etc. It seems to never end in life, why not in a book??
I finished it but it wasn’t easy. So many words, so many adjectives! One paragraph was an entire page long and then on to the next page. This is the only book I’ve read by this author. My sense was it would probably be better in an abridged form.
I agree! Just too long
I was disappointed Thought much of it was boring
It took me two years to finally finish it. It’s a beautiful book. By the time I finished it I realized I’d probably overlooked/forgotten some plot points. Did anyone claim responsibility for the explosion? What really happened to Andy and his dad on that boat with Platt. Did Theo marry Kitsy? Arrghhhh!
I thought it started slow.
Good but sad.
I disliked the book. I found the author to write with an air of pretentiousness.
Truly the worst book I actually finished. I only finished it because everyone said it was so good. I kept waiting for something to change and it didn’t. I say don’t waste your time!
I could not get through it. About three quarters through I was thinking, “End it already.”
My husband and i loved it.
It got a wee bit out of hand toward the end, but the overall story was satisfying in spite of that.
LONG! Would not recommend it.
Incredible story ! Slow in just one part, but hang on…it’s worth it!
I read the entire book, but I did not like it.
Do not particularly care for the book.
Meh is right…didn’t like how the storyline unfolded. ?
Needed A LOT more and better editing.
I couldn’t get into it. I wanted to!
Me, too. I tried twice and that was enough.
Sooooo slow of a read
Very slow read . Finally just stopped reading
I enjoyed the book, but agree with those who commented that it was too long. It could have been cut down quite a bit. Especially the Las Vegas part.
Did not like it.
Very split opinions… I’ve had it for a while and have been looking for a new book to read. I’ll give it a shot and see what I think. A lot of you have said it needs editing; I’m an aspiring book editor, so I’ll definitely keep my eye out for critiques! Thank you all, so much, for your thoughts!! You guys are all awesome!
I liked it and disliked it equally. I thought the writing was top notch, it did get a bit on and on in parts, but detailed description is good with me. I think I just disliked the whole idea of the problems. It was worth reading and brought up interesting ideas I had now thought about.
Loved the audio of the book. But agreed: needed an edit.
At first I found it very exciting and a great story but as the story unfolded, there were so many coincidences and far fetched storylines that in the end I was meh. If you want a “yarn” and don’t mind suspending your disbelief then you might like it.
I loved it, one of my favourite books that I’ve read in the last 10 years. A great story and it broke my heart. I did think that it could have been 3 books..I loved the Las Vegas part and those lost boys. Great story and beautifully written.
I really enjoyed it.
I just enjoy discussing books.
I don’t mind if people don’t like the same books as I do.
Viva la difference!
Needed a good edit
Loved every single page!
I really liked it, but it’s a bit long. My favorite book of hers is The Secret History.
Loved The Secret History!!
I Loved The Secret History!
I did enjoy for the most part, but towards the end I found it dragging a bit.
Great book, but not for everyone.
Didn’t like it at all. I finished it cause I was waiting for it to get better but it didn’t
Really good book, BUT, it did drag in places. No where near as good as The Secret History.
Loved it! Though as a Native American reader, I didn’t understand why she made the main character Cherokee then just dropped it.
I loved it. One of my all time favorites.
was not a fan…
Longer than it needed to be.
I disliked it.
I read it but Secret History was much better
I quit around page 200. But I know many people who loved it.
Couldn’t finish it.
Glad to see I wasn’t the only one. LOL
HATED IT!!! The only book I’ve ever read that I wish I could get my time back from!!!
Good in the end. Needed to be edited more. Very long.
Not my favorite book.
It reminded me of Splash Mountain in Disney World. Pleasant enough and when you start thinking this ride is TOO long, you fall 5 stories. But then the ride starts over, again and again.
I enjoyed it
Needed a better editor.
I really liked it. I remember I kept yelling (in my mind) at the main character because I just hated the decisions he was making. I’m like a lot of others though – I thought the first half was the best.
So long and slow
Excellent book!! Very unique story line.
Think Donna Tartt is an amazing writer.
Like The Catcher in the Rye but stretched over many years with a little fictionized art history & terrorism thrown in.
Couldn’t finish it
If you want literature this is an excellent pick. Had it not been a book club book I would not have finished it but I am glad I did.
I really enjoyed it quite a lot.
I loved this book.
I liked it
I loved it and my mother hated it
Abandoned it after waiting 6 months on the library waitlist.
I did not care for it but muddled through
I liked it, though not as much as her other books. It took me three tries to get going before I started to get interested.
I really liked it! It isn’t one of my all time favorites but it made me feel like I was looking out of a steamy cab window on a rainy day
Did not like it
I really liked it and could see why the main character behaved the way he did.
Fantastic! Just like everything else by Donna Tartt.
Good but too long.
I liked it, gonna read again before the movie comes out next year!
Liked the book. Soooooo wordy.
Liked it but a bit long
Loved it. My book club – not so much. Oh well, we all read stuff we don’t love. Still a gift to be able to read!
I can see his being a made for TV movie
So…..this book got me. While I was reading it and immediately afterwards, I didn’t feel like I Iiked it, but I wanted to see how things turned out for the main character. Anyways, it’s been 3 years and I talk about it quite frequently when people ask me about what books I have read. So, yeah….. I’m pretty sure I really liked it.
I have books like that too, I’ve changed ratings on Goodreads years after because I’m still pondering them.
That’s when you know a book is really good. It stays with you for a long time.
Liked it but it was about 250 pages too long
Too long, dense but glad I read it
Then wanted to see the Goldfinch
Way to long. I got tired of all the drugs and stuff.
did not finish it.
An amazing book. I didn’t find it too long at all. I was sad when it ended.
I listened to it and loved it!
I agree. I tried to read it and quit but I was able to listen to it all the way to the end.
Did not care for it but I know many have loved it.
It is not for everybody. I happened on the audio version of it and absolutely loved it, although there were parts that seemed to drag on and on. But overall, I loved the story. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much if I didn’t listen to it vs read it. If you start it and like it, keep going; but it’s a divisive book so if you just aren’t feeling it, it’s likely just not the right book for you.
It was good but longer than it needed to be.
I agree it was too long. I loved parts of it but on and on about other parts I didn’t need.
and I felt so sorry for the little goldfinch in the painting on the cover chained to his perch.
It was a long read for me. I loved the idea of the story but the drug use got to me. I know too many families with children lost to drugs.
I’m a little afraid to attack such a huge book…
I listened to it on a cross-country trip, but I didn’t really enjoy it?
Compelling but the character is such a horrible person it’s hard to read.
Hated it. Hated it with the pass ip on of a thousand fiery suns. Want the author to reimburse me for the time spent slogging thru it.
Laughing because I say that same thing all the time.
Oh, shoot! The darn autocorrect messed up “passion!”
I started it twice and never finished
I thought it was just ok and I loved her other book, the Secret History.
Didn’t like it, but loved her previous books.
I hate to say it but did not love the story. Maybe where I am right now but very grim. Her descriptions were right on and character development good but not a story I enjoyed. Maybe a little too realistic.
So disappointing. The book should have been drastically edited. And some of the violence and drugs were simply gratuitous.
So. Many. Words. Ugh.
I loved it, but do have to agree with you on the drug part.
Absolutely loved it! Even better reading it 2 or 3 times through. Writing and storyline are on par with her first work A Secret History. It’s long, but so complex and engaging that the length is justified. I love her description of artwork, physical spaces and the many layers of despair and depression.
There were sections that might have benefited from some judicious editing, but overall, I loved it.
Loved it!! Although I know a few ppl who thought it was just okay. I liked The Secret History as much or more.
Excellent! I have read all her books
I enjoyed it, BUT, there were parts that were unnecessary and uninteresting. I agree it needed better editing.
Did not enjoy
Loved that book. Couldn’t wait to read it each day. I could reread it.
Loved it! Good read
I was fascinated while reading it, but afterwards when I thought of it I felt sick, and had no wish to read anything else by Donha Tartt.
Oh. So. Long.
Hated it, second book of hers that was underwhelming for me
My least favorite!
Good read in need of editing.
I enjoyed Secret History by her much more.
I listened to the audio book and loved it.
Really well written, deserving of the praise, accolades and awards. But . . . Depressing as all get out, and not a drop of the warm and fuzzies. You will not walk away from this one with a feeling of joy about all life has to offer. After reading all three of her novels I am beginning to think the author hasn’t had too many happy days.
I didn’t love it.
Loved it. Work of literary art, but very dark.
I was disappointed after all the hype
Well written, but I won’t be reading another of her books.
Loved the beginning, but the final…25%? I did not.
I love Donna Tartt, but this one I felt like I slogged through
Maybe the last book I will ever slog all the way through because everybody else likes it. I found it sooo tedious. I hated all the characters. Nobody learned anything so she had to add the soliloquy at the end to make sure we got all the messages. Arggh!
thought I liked it after the first reading but it is so heavy with remorse I know I’ll never read it again. Have great respect for D. Tartt , the very first page of The Secret History is so enthralling you can hear strains of Phillip Glass as the snow eddies down. But now am beginning to wonder about the writer , brilliant as she is –
Definitely worth the time!
I tried but could not read this book
A great read. Worth the time
I did not like it.
It was not what I expected, but I liked it.
Hated it. The last 100 or so pages made me angry for wasting my time!
Started out so well but in the end i just lost interest in the main character. I really wanted him to be a better person.
Reading it now! I love it!
Here is the deal. It’s long, very long! But i really enjoy descriptive books, its what makes me feel like I’m a character right along with those in the story. The topics are heavy and all too frequently things that happen to people everyday. I don’t find it depressing even though the material is depressing. I find it to be a revelation of our society. Definitely not for everyone, but enlightening to me.
I only got 1/4 of the way through this book. It just wasn’t for me.
I enjoyed it.
I wanted to like it,read 1/3 and just couldn’t finish
Same here. Really wanted to like it. Didn’t even make it halfway.
I listened to it and had to check it out from the library 3 times to finish it. I enjoyed it but it did amble a bit.
Everyone fought ball the time. I quit on it, something i rarely do.
Our book club read this – very strong reactions from people on both ends of the spectrum. I think it’s one of those books you either love or hate. I enjoyed it, personally.
Loved it. Loved the story. Thought the last 100 pages were AMAZING.
Loved it so much!
Loved it! Couldn’t stop thinking about it for a long time after!
Long but good.
My mom highly recommended this book to me. I Always finish a book I am reading. Always. I made it about 3/4 and simply couldn’t go further. While the writing was stunningly artful and a breath of fresh air the content of the story was so dark and hopeless it made me feel sick reading it. I love a good sad or realistic novel but this and the other book I was reading at the time, girl on the train or whatever that depressing piece of garbage was and I had no hope left for humanity. It’s taken me a couple years of reading non-fiction and fluff to get over it all.
Yes, my sentiments exactly. I got about 3/4 through then skimmed. May have missed something but just seemed kind of pointless.?
The thing is I think the theme of the book was pointlessness and I thought that was so, so depressing.
@Lisa is that true? That’s very interesting! I feel like hopelessness could describe the theme as well. or how at so many stages in this persons life someone could have helped him. But instead of help or hope for the better all he ever got was pain and suffering.
To me it all seemed to be saying there was just not point to life and there was hopelessness too. It was not an inspiring book at all. I’m surprised I finished it.
Had to make myself finish this one
I couldn’t get through that one.
So far so good, about 1/3 way thru
I loved it! Very different- but I enjoyed the characters.
I’ve liked her books but they are deep and dark and dangerous
Good book was too much work.
Not so much!
Different strokes for different folks for sure. Glad some enjoyed.
Really enjoyed the first half. Then, not so much. I really tried but ended up shelving it.
In need of a good editor. 🙂
Agree. I was liking it the first half , but the ending was rambling and too long
I thought it was amazing !
Well… I wanted to like it. Sort of like Harry Potter on major drugs….
Dark, but I loved it. I am a writer and taught literature and comp in college. It was brilliant.
She’s one of my favorite authors. Her writing has excellent narrative descriptions.
Hated it. Read like 85% and was just done with it. It dragged on and on for me. I just didn’t even care in the end.
I loved the story and characters but way too wordy!
Too long in the desert.
Great plot twist
Also loved it?
A bit long winded but excellent
Mehhhhh, I really struggled through it because I didn’t care for the main character. Well-written though.
One of my favorites!!!
Not as good as Secret History but still worth a read.
One of the best!
Loved it. Exceptional.
Hated it at first, but it sure grew on me!
skip the Vegas part. did not like the ending.
Tough read, but interesting and worth it.
Loved it too
Barely ok, I’d say. Tartt spent an inordinately long time rambling around in the desert.. literally. Then she couldn’t figure out how to say: “the end.” And it just got worse and worse.
Sue Johnson-Dietz , I agree with you. I was very disappointed.
I did not care for 2/3 of it
My favorite part was the end.
Leave out he Las Vegas part otherwise good
I read it and mostly liked it, but it was over-long and very dark.
I loved the story, but it was really drawn out. It was more like a fairy tale.
I loved it
Still on page 408 of a first edition. I need to put on my wading boots and finish it. The adults in the book just made me so angry, I couldn’t handle the dysfunctionalism.
I loved the Secret History but only enjoyed the Goldfinch.
Long and tedious
I liked it!
This seems to be a very polarizing book!
Loved it, but probably felt even more strongly about her novel, MyLittle Friend- I hope I’m remembering the title accurately. We have a large family and could easily see a few of my kids involved in the action in this novel.
Excellent. One of my favorites.
Absolutely brilliant book.
I agree with Jennifer Deloris’s, Tartt’s title Secret History is so much better than GF.
I thought it was beautifully written but I didn’t like any of the characters or the theme.
Read it a few years ago and remember the main character using drugs, drugs, and more drugs. It got tiresome.
I had mixed feelings on this one. Liked the beginning and the end, but it dragged in the middle.
Lonnnng…not one of my faves
Once l got into it, l enjoyed… but was glad when l finished and could move onto the next book on my reading list. I thought it was a bit longer than it should’ve been.
I really enjoyed it but it took me a bit to get into it. Once I did I was hooked!!
I found it overly long and drawn out, in need of a strong editing hand to eliminate Tartt’s repetitiveness and self indulgent going off on tangents that contributed nothing to the story. Frankly, it soured me on reading anything else by her, not that we’ll see another book in the next decade.
I enjoyed it, but think quite a bit could have been edited out and not be missed.
I have to agree with Marilee. I did not enjoy it, and have not read anything else by Tartt.
@Lori Exactly. Because she takes so long to write, I got the impression that her publisher was reluctant to allow an editor to do their job, because with 10 years between books, the publisher wants to sell everything she’s written, even if it’s not important to the book or story.
Loved it, beautiful story.
I liked it. It was good but not enough to reread.
I liked it. Certain parts goofy. Can’t wait to see the movie. I really don;t like big books. I would like to read History
Lengthy but engaging. There was about a chapter full of dense philosophical blather near the end that I skipped altogether but the rest was fine.
I enjoyed it! I’ve read it twice and liked it even better the second time.
Couldn’t get past the first 10 pages
Glad I wasn’t the only one
Lead was unlikeable.
Could NOT do it!!! I was immediately bored…
Loved it and so did my book group.
Loved it, but long. The ending … well no spoilers…;)
I somehow made it through. It meandered and needed serious editing. I felt nothing when I finished it.
I thought it needed editing. The protagonist was untrustworthy and unlike able.
I’m reading A Little Life and I keep comparing to Goldfinch. The former was unputdownable.
I had to take breaks with A Little Life. So depressing I had to read it in bits.
Okay, but not my favorite.
LONG , are you taking a trip?
Didn’t care for it.
Long but I enjoyed it. I did it as an audio book.
Interesting beginning then too long and couldn’t wait to be finished
I think it is very ‘mood dependent’ read. I loved it when I read it, but it was a weird time for me so not sure I’d enjoy it now? Or maybe my attention span wouldn’t stay with it. It does meander, and I enjoy that in some novels, but not for every read. Give it a try- no judgement if you can’t get through it! Life’s too short to force it! 🙂
I liked it but I thought they spent too much time on the drug scene. It got to be boring and too much — we read it for book club and it was a good discussion time.
Absolutely LOVED it (but did not like her other book/s)
Some value. I liked the story & characters, but it was far too long. Good editing would have helped.
I’m bored, about half way through. Taking a break and trying The Last Tudor (Phillipa Gregory).
Liked the story; but author needed an editor. Wordy, wordy! If you are verbose, you bury the lines that are luminous.
I love her books. Goldfinch is definitely my favorite but they all have an element of pretentiousness to them that I am a complete sucker for.
I liked it a lot!!
Loved it, but would only recommend to a selected few.
A tedious long book!
Loved. Such vivid characters.
Loved it, the beginning more than the end
I have read it twice but the second time around- just made me mad.
I tried reading it but couldn’t get far before giving up.
I fought thru it, but finished. Depressing.
The author never used 5 words if she could use 50 instead.
I am a fan of this book and that is an accurate assessment! ?? She did take the “long way around”.
I thought it was wonderful.
I liked it. Odd story.
Did not love it…
I did not like this novel. Too much misery, foul language, and not enough good writing to merit the read.
It wasn’t my thing at all. For one thing, I didn’t like how much of the action took place off the page while the protagonist waited in a hotel room. There were many times in this book that I was bored and waiting for something to happen.
I find it very memorable. Depressing, too long, but I am glad I read it.
Not one of my favorites
One of my least favorite books of all time. Lol.
I though I was the only one who thought that!
There wasn’t one character I liked!
It’S a good read.
I absolutely loved it!
It is a good read but it’s maybe 200-300 pages too long. Too much time spent proving the character of the two main protags. I kept thinking, ‘I get it, okay, I get it!” LOL
Liked it overall but after being incredibly long and drawn out, I thought the ending was terrible.
Exquisite,uneven in places,disturbing and powerful, I’m glad I read it!
Did not like it. Just dragged on in parts so started skimming the drug parts.
Not a fun read – overrated – but I read exclusively for enjoyment.
I really really liked it at first. Then all the drug crap–and on and on and on…I was barely able to finish it…I think I finished it? Very disappointing. It could ahve been great
I did not like, nothing good happened in the book
HATED IT!! I despised the main character so much I stopped reading because I just didn’t care what happened to him.
Loved it…even cried!
I absolutely thought it was one if the best books I ever read.
Loved the book I didn’t like the main character. Awesome thoiugh
Did someone say “difficult read “. At one part I became so anxious but glad I read it. I’d be interested to read something else y her
Her novel The Secret History still reverberates with me. I really get into her usual cadre of deeply flawed, unlikeable characters. How I somehow end up feeling sorry for and rooting for them is a testament to her incredible writing. I loved it!
All time favorites! Excellent!!
Finished it, but didn’t love it.