Top positive review
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Brevity would have improved the read.
on January 18, 2018
A coming if age story is a blurb that makes me say ‘next!’ But ‘a reckoning with your own ineptitude’ would intrigue me. This story manages to express all the teenage uncertainty, isolation, inability to express emotions, the idealized, and compromised loves that you feel so deeply but can’t articulate, and the reckless tangents that you pursue from boredom or a desire for companionship. At times, teenage Theodore seems far more adult than his age would suggest, and there’s other times he is so hopelessly naïve and lost that your emotions swing from compassion to frustration.
I can’t help feeling that this book is almost a companion piece to the Catcher in the Rye. The two novels obviously have some common themes, but it’s more the tone than the construction that reminds me of Salinger, though this book would have been greatly improved if the writer had followed Salinger’s lead in brevity. There are portions of the novel where the writer is so in love with the language (and, god she can write!) that she benumbs the point and loses the thread of the plot. But that is forgivable from writer such obvious talent...though I did find myself skimming the endless detail of crowd scenes and the tiresomely repetitive though beautiful inner workings of Theo's thought processes about the goldfinch, his life, his love, etc. The writer paints characters with such swift deft strokes of a painter working in the fast drying plaster of a fresco that the sudden turn to intense stippling when we dive beneath the surface of the main character becomes plodding. I know the framework of the story hangs on the painting of the goldfinch but I found myself almost annoyed when the goldfinch was re-inserted in the story. The characters are so well done so intriguing that even the superficial characters like the magician-cabby Appear full-blown on the page. I would have enjoyed more of that when it came to Theo. Sometimes ambiguity is better than a dissertation.
The end of the book takes on the one of a thriller, and what a thriller it would have been without the self-pitying Theo. the denouement was a real chore to get through, the book was over why not let it be over?
All in all I enjoyed this book but would have enjoyed it more if the author had spent a little more time winnowing out some of the repetitive descriptions and similes. I liken it to walking through the Louvre. try to cram it all into a day and you end up with an eyerolling 'woo-hoo , another masterpiece.'