A review by k3volutionenergy
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

dark sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


As you can probably tell by me giving this book the lowest rating position, I really didn't like this book, the only reason I didn't DNF it was because I blindly chose it for my English Literature course work. 

Some of the main reasons as to why I didn't like it: 

-It felt as though POC characters were used as a plot device rather than being seen as really people. The majority of these characters didn't have names, instead being referred to as 'The [ethnicity or race] man/woman', not to mention that the only role they seemed to serve was forwarding the lives of the all white main cast. As for the POC characters who were named, they were so incredibly stereotyped - The Latino doormen are the biggest examples of this 

-It felt like an excuse for Tartt (a white women) to says slurs, particularly the n-word. Boris, a character who's first language is Ukrainian, starts to say the n-word as he likes rap (not kidding, Tartt wrote that). I think this was in an attempt of Tartt to show that Boris isn't allinged with what she deams as more western ideals of what is acceptable and that he isn't American however, Tartt can't mention Boris without mentioning that a) he is Ukrainian/is not American (eg. Pointing out the way he pronounces English words incorrectly) or that b) his morals are deemed unacceptable in her American lense. Either way, Tartt using the n-word as a white women is unacceptable, no question, but it just feels worse when it's just thrown in there for literally no reason (eg. Portraying racism (though, still no excuse)) 

-There is so many mentions of underaged boys wanting to sleep with/actually sleeping with fully grown women - there is more mentions of this that mentions of sex that is legal. I'm not accusing Tartt of anything but it definitely feels like some fixation with how much it's mentioned. I want to add, there is never sex between two consenting adults mentioned, at least not as explicitly as sex between two underaged boys or between underaged boys and adult women.

-Tartt seems to use queerness as a lazy plot device and nothing more. Boris and Theo's relationship in a romantic and sexual sense is only seen a few times when they are teenagers, more times vaguely with one time to my memory being outward (their kiss before Theo leaves Vegas). It mentioned offhand in their adulthood with Boris mentioning Theo is the only man he has ever slept with. This book seems to be pushed as a queer book and though the main characters may be queer despite their preferences to women, I definitely feel like the queer aspects of the book are a lazy plot above anything else - queerbating, really.

-This gripe is definitely very small compared to my others but I would still like to mention it - She mixed up the languages of two different countries. She writes of a Welsh side character named 'Kellin' when that's the Irish spelling of the name, the Welsh being 'Celyn'. Again, small gripe, but still something that stood out to me as a Welsh person. 

I really wouldn't recommend reading this book, it's personally put me off Tartt's writing completely despite how acclaimed some of her other works are.

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