My history with The Goldfinch went through all seasons: somewhere during Winter ❄ I found out about the book, then during Spring 🌸 I waited for it to be delivered from Bookster, during Summer ☀ I read it, and during Autumn I write its review 🍂.

The Goldfinch in a nutshell

The Goldfinch tells the story of Theo, a teenager who survived a terrorist bombing at an art museum in New York; unfortunately, his mother did not survive the attack. The story follows Theo as he grows up, with his destiny closely linked to The Goldfinch painting.

The book encompasses a wide variety of themes throughout its 800+ pages – from post traumatic stress disorder to fate versus free will, drugs, and art crime.

the goldfinch donna tartt readers high tea review
Reading “The Goldfinch” during my summer holiday ❤

Overall impression

I enjoyed a lot reading The Goldfinch, it raised to my high expectations and it kept me hooked on from the first to the last page. As a result, I managed to read the whole book in just a couple of days (holiday time, fortunately!).

What I appreciated most was the relevance and “down-to-earth-ness” of the happenings from the book – for example, losing a family member as consequence of a terrorist attack and being lured into drugs are realities of today’s world.

The structure of the book

The book is a compelling combination of plot-driven and character-building story – you get both whirlwind of events and slow “painting” of characters. The story is structured on 3 layers (parts, chapters, and sub-chapters), giving the reader a sense of advancing quickly through the 800+ pages of the book.

Imagini pentru donna tartt the goldfinch book illustration the telegraph
Illustration of Theo and his mother watching “The Goldfinch” painting, right before the attack (The Telegraph)

Theo, the main character

While reading the book I had mixed feelings regarding Theo. While some parts of his story simply broke my heart, there are other parts where I wish I could shake him a bit so that he comes to his senses. And these latter parts reminded me of a quote my brother used to say often – “Youth is wasted on the young” (George Bernard Shaw).

The Goldfinch painting

The story revolves around a real painting – “The Goldfinch” by Carel Fabritius (displayed at Mauritshuis in The Hague). From this point of view, it reminded me of “The Girl with Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier. However, Tartt’s story is much more complex in terms of characters’ depth, action, and temporal length; also, it does not imagine how the painting was created (as is the case in Chevalier’s book), but is focused on its fictional journey out of the museum.

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Ad for “The Goldfinch” movie. Image from


The Goldfinch is a powerful story, a bildungsroman rooted in contemporary themes. It is one of the best books I read in 2019, needless to say that I recommend it with all my heart!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


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