Library in Paradise: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

“Library in Paradise” is a new series here at Sweet Valley Books. Jorge Luis Borges was quoted as saying “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” I believe the books included in this series should be put in that great library in the sky. 




goldfinch art

(Lovely illustration borrowed from The Telegraph)

I completed The Goldfinch a couple weeks ago and, if my blog title is any indication, you might guess that I loved it. It reads like a modern epic, with the protagonist provoking empathy, anger, love,frustration, and sadness in a way that only the most round of characters can do. The reader begins with Theodore Decker as a twelve-year-old boy, and it ends with him in his 20′s. The novel revolves around Theo’s obsession with Fabritius’ painting “The Goldfinch” and the enigmatic “What if?” that haunts all of us in one way or another. I know a book is good (really, really good) when I curl up in the fetal position after I finish it. Tartt’s novel contains the best parts of Crime and Punishment, Catcher in the Rye, and the Great Gatsby.

Much of it feels like a fever dream so thick that you are Theo. I will come back to this again and again, and I recommend it to all.

Five out of five stars!






Modern epics and movie adaptations



ImageI am still reading The Goldfinch, and it has transformed me already. It begins with an accident that alters the trajectory of his life. The reader follows him throughout the years. It is told from the perspective of future Theodore Decker, much in the fashion of Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield. This book raises a lot of important existential questions. I feel like a qualifying title could be (What if?)

I am headed to the theaters in two short weeks to watch Divergent, and I can’t wait!

What are you reading?

“Grief pounded over me in waves”: Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch”



I’m taking a break from the Divergent series to read Donna Tartt’s critically-acclaimed novel The Goldfinch. I have been wanting to read it for a while, but I can’t get myself to pay $28 for a book. (I buy 95% of my books from used book stores and thrift stores.) I was positively ecstatic when I learned it was $7.99 in the Google Play store for a limited time. 

This book is crushing. It reminds me of the good parts of Salinger, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Saul Bellow. It takes place in New York and follows a thirteen-year-old boy, Theo, and his mother during a terrorist attack at the Frick and the days and months following.

Tartt captures death so perfectly for those affected by it. She is incredibly insightful, sensitive, and honest. I can only handle this book in small doses because it is so heavy, but it has been a therapeutic read for me so far. I really needed to read it right now. I’m only about one-quarter of the way through, so I will be back with a review soon.