The Goldfinch ~ By Donna Tartt – Bee Readin'

The Goldfinch ~ By Donna Tartt


The Goldfinch is a whopping 775 pages and the most painful book I have read in a long time.  The first question that popped into my head when this book was announced was, “can I finish it a month?”  I am not one who has unlimited time to read and I can’t seem to read 2 books at a time.  The Goldfinch would be a challenge.

I skimmed through some of the reviews of the book and most of them were glowing.  I found a few negative reviews that were lightly sprinkled throughout the others.  Reading and books is subjective and based on personal likes and opinions. I had high hopes so I jumped right in.

The Goldfinch is written in sections. The book starts in the present, goes back to the past and ends in the present.

Theo Decker is in hiding, but from who?

Going backwards, Theo Decker is a 13 year boy living with his mother in New York City. His father has abandoned them both.

Each section is similar to a novella and each covers a different section of Theo’s life.

The story drags the reader intimately and graphically through drug abuse and alcoholism.  The author chooses to give every detail and thought.  I felt like I was in her head hearing every unedited word that swirled as she wrote the book.

The story rambles on and I find myself skimming, skipping and wanting to completely jump ship. In my opinion, when skimming pages and you don’t miss anything, there is a problem.   I don’t need all the details, I don’t care.  So much of it is just not needed and I begin to wonder who edited this book?  The story lost me and I lost interest.  The Goldfinch was a hard read.

I’m the odd man out.  Many found it to be a great piece of literature and the author a creative genius.

With the holidays upon us, we won’t have another book for book club until January.  Which means, I can tackle a few books I’m dying to read on my own personal list.

Our book club event was fabulous.  Our hostess pulled from the Russian/Ukranian heritage of a character in the book to bring us an authentic Ukranian dinner and dessert. Below is the menu for your book club event.

The Goldfinch Menu

Soup:  Borscht, a Ukranian soup made from beets.  Served hot or cold, topped with sour cream.  The color is a vibrant red and adds a beautiful color to the table.


Chicken Kiev, chicken cutlets stuffed with butter and herbs, rolled, breaded and fried to a light brown.

Pierogi:  Ukranian dumplings filled with potato and cheese.  Serve with sour cream

Stuffed Cabbage:  Cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and seasonings, rolled and steamed.  Served with a light sauce.

Blintzes:  Thin crepes rolled around a ricotta cheese filling, served again with sour cream and strawberry jam.

Borodinsky Bread:  A dark sourdough/rye bread.  It is often sweetened with molasses and flavored with coriander and caraway seeds.


Kiev Cake Slice





We enjoyed a traditional Kiev cake.  The cake is made in Kiev and has been since December 6, 1956.  Originally, the cake was made at the Karl Marx Confectionery Factory, which is now a subsidiary of the Roshen Corporation.

The cake is a symbol of Kiev City.  The lid of the box holds a chestnut leaf which is the informal coat of arms of Kiev.

Biting into the cake you will find layers of meringue with hazelnuts, a gooey chocolate glaze and a buttercream style filling.

Check your area for a Russian deli, they are a great help in creating a menu and providing items.  If you are located in Southern California, more specifically Costa Mesa, CA, check out the Moscow Deli, their food is incredible and they were very helpful in catering some of the delicious menu items and the beautifully boxed Kiev cake.

Book Club questions,Need book club questions to guide you through this massive read?  Below are several links to help you.

Book Club Questions

A Book Club guide available for purchase on Amazon.

Bee Readin’

Terri Bee

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3 thoughts on “The Goldfinch ~ By Donna Tartt”

  1. I enjoyed The Goldfinch. I listened to it on audio book. It started off strong and held my attention, then slowed down as it developed the characters. I felt the author went into too much irrelevant detail on scenery and on characters that were not really part of the story. Because of her over indulgence in unnecessary detail, the story started to lag for me… then picked back up on last 1/3rd of the book.

    Aside from excess detail, I enjoyed the book and for some reason, it has stuck with me more than most books. Many books I read I barely remember, this one I do.

    Thank you for your insightful review. Keep them coming. My wife is now reading the Women of the Silk because of your recommendation and is enjoying it.

    1. I completely agree. There was just to much detail that wasn’t needed in the story. Hope she loves Women of the Silk. That is one book that has stuck with me too.

  2. Well, I actually chose this book for book club, despite it’s LENGTH!!! Friends seemed to rave about it and after all, how bad could it be to win a Pulitzer Prize?!?!?!

    I have to say that I did enjoy the book, for the most part. The story was interesting and I really didn’t know which way it would go. I didn’t love his dark days and bad living … but I understood it.

    It seemed to drag in the last part … seemed to spiral out of control and rambling. But then again, just part of the life he was living. And I felt tired when I finally finished it.

    Overall, kind of epic and interesting … worth reading if you have a lot of time!

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