Since my printer is not working, here are my articles:

http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2014/12/why_the_backlash_against_donna.html
The author of this article did not like the book and claims that instead of it being a serious fiction novel, it “mimics serious fiction” which I thought was a very unique way to look at the story.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/sep/29/goldfinch-donna-tartt-not-the-booker -plot-coincidence
This article was interesting because it pointed out how too much of the story was dull, even for having so many storylines and surprises, and being about 800 pages long. The author had a lot of critiques about the book and as a whole did not enjoy it.


As stated by both my peers, this book was definitely a whirlwind of emotion. From the moment I started the book, I loved it, and now that I have finished the book, I love it even more. It seemed there was always something happening and there was never a dull moment. Never a time where I wanted to take my eyes from the page.

I love the character of Theo. When the book starts off, I felt bad for him because he had to live without his father and him and his mom seemed to hardly be getting by. However as the book continued, it seemed Theo was digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself, and his situation just kept getting worse. With the painting, the drugs, the furniture scams, the depression, and everything in between, Theo had almost nothing positive in his life, apart of Hobie, Mrs. Barbour, and sometimes Kitsey and Boris. It was difficult to see all of these happen to him. I wanted to tell Theo that he was making bad decisions and wasn't doing what he should be doing, but obviously that was not possible, so reading through those parts was especially hard.

Throughout the book, I found his melancholy demeanor very intriguing. Yes, he did have episodes of severe depression and something extreme happiness, but all around he was a character who mostly just went with the flow and, without stimulus of some sort, didn't do much to disrupt the air around him. This personality trait made it easy to relate to Theo. While most people have not experienced everything that he has, everyone has their struggles, and everyone has a different way of dealing with them. I find that I could relate to Theo because, just as he does, I mostly prefer to stay in the background of things and not get too involved with everything around me. Also, like Theo, I tend to be very in my head and I think a lot, which can be attributed to my lack of participation on the outside. I found myself wondering what I would do in this situation, and I can honestly say that I don't know how it would turn out. It's so difficult to predict how someone will react when something tragic happens and I haven't been in a situation near enough to Theo's to know the outcome.

One thing I loved about this book was the reality of it. It wasn't just some happy book where everything turns out perfect and Theo gets to live happily ever after. When Theo went back to New York and years later finds out Andy and Mr. Barbour died, not only was I shocked, but I was struck with how real that situation could be. Many people discover the deaths of one's they had previously been close to. Another very real element was Theo's past always seemed to catch up to him. Whether it was Pippa or Boris, nothing ever really left him. I feel that this often happens to people everywhere. Whether it's running into an old friend in the street or deciding to call someone up after years, these types of interactions happen all the time. Not only these elements, but Theo's emotions also seemed very real. I love how the author went into depth when describing Theo's depression, his drug addiction, his intense love for Pippa (which by the way I also kind of liked how they didn't end up together, but we can discuss this later), or even his desire to commit suicide because it made the book seem real. I cannot stand it when a book is suppose to be fiction but it too unrealistic to even be considered anywhere near that genre.This also includes books that are too happy and too perfect to be a real person's story. However The Goldfinch has the perfect balance of reality and just a little bit of outlandish detail, because sometimes life can be a little strange.

Well, I've ranted for quite a while so I best be wrapping this up. To be honest, The Goldfinch may be one of my favorite books ever. In a few years time, I hope to read the book again and get an entirely new perspective on it. I do think that this book may not be for everyone, however I think that this book was a perfect for pick for me. I can't wait to talk about it more in person.

Holy cow. This book took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. There is so much I have to say about the last 6 chapters - there is no way I can fit it all into this discussion... but I must try. I can't wait to talk to you guys in person.

It was shocking to me how awful Theo's life was after his mother died. Every time he got wasted, took pills or smoked pot with Boris, I wondered where he would have been if his mother hadn't died. Theo went from a safe family life to a drug infested, unsupervised one. Both his father and mother were killed and he was forced to live a life of horror. I guess you could say things got better after he moved in with Hobie, but honestly, Theo was a crook and a drug addict. Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, Theo's crimes in the antique business caught up with him and Reeve began to question him about the Goldfinch painting. We later found out that Boris had sold it back in Vegas and was reaping the benefits since. (That made me so mad!!!)

It was unbelievable how horrible of a life Theo was living.

This book was SO painful for me to read. ALL OF THESE BAD THINGS HAPPENED TO THEO BECAUSE HE WAS SEEN WITH TOM CABLE SMOKING CIGS. It's crazy for me to think that he was put through hell all because of that one incident. ONE INCIDENT THAT WASN'T EVEN HIS FAULT. Theo was just a young boy and was forced into a terrible life.

At first I though this book was going to be about a boy who's mother had died and how his life was different living with a new family on Park Avenue; but little did I know how wrong I was. There was SO much more to this book - so many tragic events that all summed up to an even more miserable life. I can't imagine anyone having to live the way Theo did. Every unhealthy/junk food meal he ate, I felt as though I was there too. I wish I could have jumped into this book and cooked him a nice healthy meal.

UGH I wish I could explain my emotions better but hopefully you ladies get what I'm trying to say. I totally underestimated this book.

Peace, love, goldfinch
Gracie



I totally agree with Gracie this book definitely took turns that I was not expecting and I just felt so sad for Theo. This boy lost two parents, turned to drugs when his father neglected him, had no one to be there for him to grieve the loss of either parent, had his childhood best friend die, and he thought the only way out of his messed up life would be to kill himself. I mean this book was just heart wrenching. Whenever the audience thought he was going to finally be in a permanent place with someone who cared about him the author took him right out of there. We went from the Barbour's to Hobie and Pippa then to Boris and then he just led a life of sorrow and deceit.

I actually take back what I said at the beginning of the book when I said I didn't like all of the detail because I appreciate the imagery then and at the end of the novel now that I'm finished. For me there was kind of a lull in the middle when he was in Vegas. I thought there was just a lot of drugs and it made me sad to think that such a young boy had to live with his abusive father that beat him and thought drugs and alcohol were the only outlet in life. The part when he returned to New York was where my interest was really pulled because this was when everything was tied together. I don't know about you guys but I was just so frustrated when Pippa and Theo wouldn't be together. Come on they were obviously in love for all of these years and I'm sure Kitsey is great but there's no comparison.

The thing that I really liked was that the painting represented stability in Theo's life (well up until Boris admitted he stole it but at least the idea of it was there). It traveled with him wherever he went and it played a huge role in the ending when he tried to get it back. One of my favorite quotes was on page 771, "Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time." The painting ends up teaching him valuable life lessons despite it being a small detail in previous points in the novel.

Overall, I ended up liking the book a lot more than I thought I would. It was a long novel and it did kind of drag in the middle but the ending definitely made up for that. 

Once I began to read more into this book, I found it very difficult to stop. As Laura said, it is very descriptive and detailed, but instead of getting lost, I found myself further pulled into the book. I am a very big fan of the switching back and forth between the different sub-plots of the book. It is a very good way to keep up with everything that is going on and keeps every story line fresh in your head. Although I would have to say my favorite story line is the one with Hobie and Pippa. I love the idea of Theo seeing this little girl before the explosion and then meeting her afterward and becoming a part of both her and Hobie's lives. To me, it is so interesting to not only see how Theo creates such great relationships with both of them, but also the great relationship between Hobie and Pippa. He acts as such a fatherly, or grandfatherly figure to her, and this is especially evident in moments such as when Theo came and Hobie says "I told you he'd come back" (159). Through this dialouge, it is implied at Hobie and Pippa talk often and they talk about things that are more personal to them, and that makes reading this book so much more interesting.

Where I finished reading, there are many story lines that are changing and I am very curious as to where the book with go next. I am loving this book and I cannot wait to continue reading.

I definitely think it's easy to get lost in the descriptive details the author uses. At times like the actual accident and Theo's feelings afterwards, I thought the details were necessary and extremely helpful. However, the book and the plot almost come to a standstill when there are so many details about minor parts of the story. During the part where the social workers are trying to figure out where Theo should live, the author created an incredible image of what kids who lose their only guardian go through. "I was a minor child without a guardian. I was to be removed immediately from my home (or "the environment," as they kept calling it). Until my father's parents were contacted, the city would be stepping in" (75). This shows how almost inconsiderate the social workers were and didn't think twice about removing him from his only home. This creates a lot of emotion because of all of the hardships he has had to endure with his father leaving him, his mother dying in a tragic accident, and now him having no family that is willing to take him in. Living with the Barbours is like an out-of-body experience for him because he feels so out of place.

At the midpoint of the book I also feel myself kind of getting lost in the detail but I do enjoy where the author has taken his journey. The length of the book is overwhelming and it's hard to see that we still have so much more but I am excited to see what happens. Overall, I'm enjoying the book. 

Hey Hey! Time for another discussion...

It honestly took me about 100ish pages to really "get into" this book. For a while I thought it was really slow-moving and uneventful; but then, POW! we were hit with a wave of emotions as we learn that Theo's mother was killed in a horrific accident which left him an orphan. After I reached this part and we were introduced to Hobie, I was entranced and ended up reading for a couple of hours. I have learned to like the authors descriptive manner, however at times I still lose interest. One of my absolute favorite lines was when Theo compared his life with the Barbours to his chair at the dinner table. "... and returned with an extra chair, which he (Mr. Barbour) wedged in awkwardly for me at the sharp corner of the table. As I sat down on the outskirts of the group - three or four inches lower than everyone else, in a spindly bamboo chair that didn't match the others..."(pg. 114) This image of the chairs perfectly depicts how any person feels in someone else's home. We've all been in a position where we don't fit in with a group and I thought the analogy of the chairs represented this feeling spot on. I was personally able to connect to Theo at this moment.

I think the reason why I feel resentment towards the book's length is because I am too impatient. I want to rush through the book to reach the ending so I that I can do other homework and activities. I now know that I have to separate time out of my day to relax and read; if I do this I know I'll appreciate the descriptiveness more. I just wish there was more time in a day. 

When I began reading this book, I was immediately pulled in by the author's style. Even though, as Gracie mentioned, she is very descriptive, I found myself intrigued by all the little details that she was adding. It made me feel as if there was a movie being reeled through by head as I read, and I loved it.

I found it very interesting how we were introduced to the character as he stayed in his hotel in Amsterdam, and only a few pages later we are transported back to the events that led to his mother's death. I think that Theo is a very unique character, ans this is very evident in the way that he thinks. This especially caught my attention when he was in the museum with his mother. A red haired girl kept grabbing his attention, and he was confused as to why she was so intriguing to him as it appeared there was nothing too special about her. He wondered about where she came from, who the man with her was, and other details about her life. At this point, I began to think about my own experiences and thought about the times when I thought the same things.

To answer Gracie's question about Theo's mother, I think that she just had a very distinct personality. I did not find her annoying in the slightest. I thought that the way she acted around others and around Theo really showed that she is clearly overworked, but she always wants the best for her son. This is a very admirable trait. I personally believe that her personality is going to have a big impact on Theo for the rest of his life.

Before going to the meeting, Theo's mother decided to go the the art museum. Why do you guys think that, despite the negative circumstances, she wanted to detour to something more positive for her and her son? Do you think it was for selfish reasons, or do you think it was because she wanted Theo and herself to relax before the meeting?

I am very excited to continue reading and I can't wait to see what is going to happen next. 

I totally agree with Gracie regarding the style of writing. It definitely took some getting used to because of how much detail the author uses when describing events. I also get lost in all of the adjectives and sometimes unnecessary descriptions of things, but overall I think it's going to be a good book and the in depth descriptions are going to help paint a bigger picture.

I kind of think Theo is grieving his mother's death when he says that it's his fault. I can see the intense guilt he feels when he upset her for getting suspended and he might just be relating disappointing her with being the cause of her death. He also might just be mad at himself for disappointing her in general. You can definitely tell he cares a lot about his mom especially when they're in the cab and she gets sick he asks, "'Are you carsick?' I said, forgetting my own troubles for the moment." He's putting his mother first in this situation.
I think the death of a parent is something that doesn't go away it just gets easier to comprehend as time goes on. Theo seems like someone who's sensitive and pays a lot of attention to detail so I'm interested to see his perspective on different events and to find out what really happened to his mom.
Do you guys think these events are somehow linked to her death if they are so detailed even though they seem irrelevant now?

-Laura

Hey guys! So I thought I'd kick off this discussion real quick and just talk about my first impressions of The Goldfinch (pages 1-25). Let's get to it ayyy?

Right from the start we are introduced to the gloomy and depressed life of 13 year old Theo Decker who spends most of his days locked up in his hotel room; The very first sentence of the book, Theo says, "...I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years". This line did a nice job of intriguing me and making me ask myself questions like, "Why is he dreaming about his mother?" and, "What exactly happened to his mother?". We figure out that she died, however we are unsure as to how.

It took me a couple pages to get use to the author's writing style; She is very descriptive and unfortunately lost my attention a couple of times when reading the longer sentences. I do however really like the dialogue between the characters because it helps the audience get a feel for the people better. For example, the conversation between Goldie and Theo's mom shows us the mother's "engaging" personality.

I do think this book is going to be interesting because of the stories that Theo begins to tell. He touches upon his flighty father and starts to reveal how his mother was killed. Although it's a little boring as of now, I think that once we read more and the plot thickens, we won't be able to put this book down.

Some questions! Just some stuff I'm wondering about.

- Theo blames himself for the death of his mother. As of right now (knowing what we know) do you think he could possibly have caused his mother's death?
-Do you think his mother is a little annoying? Or just a distinct personality?
-Should Theo be moving on from his mothers death after all these years?
xoxo
gracie
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