What does it mean to love something? Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is mostly about love and what we will do to have it, in all it’s many manifestations. This story is not about right or wrong, good choices or bad, at it’s heart, The Goldfinch is about what we will do to hold near the things we love.
The Goldfinch is a wild (though sometimes overlong) ride through a life of frivolous delinquency, unintentional criminality, lapses in honesty, breaches of ethics, and misunderstood attractions. For Theo Decker, there is no thing so awful that he wouldn’t do it to keep the thing he believes he loves the most, Carel Fabritius’ painting of The Goldfinch.
From young adolescence Theo’s life staggers from one bad scenario to another. At the impressionable age of thirteen, he is thrust into challenging circumstances that irreversibly drag him into a life that buffets him about like a kite in a storm. Decisions are made for him, few of which make any real sense. He’s never offered the opportunity to make thoughtful or calculated choices and most often he is either dragged into less than optimal family situations, or he must make lightning quick decisions based on faulty information that lead him to increasingly shoddy habitats and relationships.
Mrs Smith Reads The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (mild spoilers in full review)