The Goldfinch | Donna Tartt | Book Reviews Are Back Despite No-One Reading Them Because I Ramble Too Much

Where do I start in reviewing such a masterpiece? It’s left me feeling accomplished (since it was a hefty book) though not necessarily happier or sadder. Although it has left an impression, I can’t exactly pinpoint where or how 🤷‍♀️ That’s not to say it’s a bad book because I loved it! From start to finish, the description enticed me and the plot was so detailed.

Initially I picked this book up in aim to defeat my fear of large books. I’ve always avoided books with 600+ pages, especially if their font is small. In a way, it has helped defeat my fear. But the book was so fascinating that I forgot about the word and page count, and became immersed in the plot and characters.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. 

Theo Decker is our main protagonist. I don’t know whether to love or hate him, but I do dislike him at the very least. In the last few pages he gave a beautiful, poetic passage that seemed to come from a place of wisdom. However, that alone does not counteract the mistakes he made throughout the novel that in my opinion where stupid. Perhaps this is a spoiler, although it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the novel if you decide to read it: Boris and Theo become really close friends. They have no support from outsiders so are left primarily to their own devices. They turn to drugs and crime in this period of abandonment. It follows them around like a shadow far into their adult life, and hinders their social abilities. The way Tartt describes and develops their characters appears to be incredibly realistic, although I have never known a drug addict/criminal 😅

I took this book slow, despite it being a page-turner. Every sentence was a work of art, and I wanted to savour that as much as possible. However this morning I woke up late, around 8am, sat on the sofa all morning and trundled through 165 pages worth of this novel until I reached the end. Do I regret rushing the last few chapters? Not at all! It felt so right, and I couldn’t put it down even though I tried. I thought, ‘I’ll just go and practise my cello, and come back to this later’ but my eyes kept moving across the page and physically could not stop reading. 

My favourite character has to Hobie. If any of you have read this novel, I’d love to know who your favourite was! He took on a father-like role for Theo, and became a solid rock for him to rely on. Unlike Boris, who often slipped away without warning. Ever since I was introduced to Boris I felt wary and did not trust him in the slightest. I don’t think Theo did either!

Theo’s character was believable, and this whole book almost felt like a retelling of a non-fiction story. It’s written in first person, from his perspective, but from other people’s dialogues you could guess that he wasn’t someone to admire. Even up to the last pages, Theo was incredibly pessimistic and brutally honest. However I did like this a lot! Many chapters just sounded like one great old moan, but it was entertaining simultaneously. It made the book more believable and almost made me feel guilty because I’m under blankets with a cup of tea while he’s committing drug abuse and being dragged into a criminal underworld… 

The reason I give this book 5 stars is for reasons I’ve just explained, but also the timeline. We see Theo grow from 13 to his mid-twenties! And it’s not as if details have been skimmed over or anything has been missed out because it did make loads of sense. 

Bought this copy from a charity shop for £2. Safe to say I’m a happy customer!

Have you read any big books recently? Or are you afraid of them?

erin x

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The Unexpected Everything | Morgan Matson | Book Review

Okay, now it’s over. And I just want more! Like, why end it so abruptly? What will happen to Clark and Andie? Please, Morgan Matson, give me more! 

I spent a week on this book, a lot longer than I would usually dedicate to reading, but I just wanted it to last forever. Sadly, it came to an end. As much as I tried to postpone the ending, it eventually came. Sometimes finishing books gives me satisfaction. This one just made me sad. I wanted to know so much more about Andie’s future. From a writer’s perspective, it’s good to allow your reader to predict what’s going to happen next. However, as a reader, I’m hungry for more. That’s how much I enjoyed this book!

The beginning started off like any YA contemporary: explaining the problems the protagonist faces. I thought this was going to be Andie solving her problems… but no! It was actually way more intriuging. Matson introduced many obstacles along the way which I really appreciate. You thought the hurdle had been jumped, then another one came. That kept the pace of the novel going and make me hasty to read on!

It was a wonderfully crafted book. The description was dreamy and clever, allowing the reader to create their own version of Andie’s world. Also, Andie was her own narrator. That meant we could see much deeper into her thoughts and feelings – especially about Clark! In YA it is common to see the standard life events skipped over, but Matson really focused in on the ‘normal’ things. Like dinner, texting your friends or the relationship with your parents. 

One element that I really enjoyed was the side narrative about Andie’s father. He worked in politics and for most of Andie’s life was away from home. But after the scandal, he ended up staying with Andie all summer. The novel showed the growing of a bond. It was very realistic in its hurdles – not washing over the reality too much. 

I suppose what I really enjoyed about this book was the various different things going on at once. There wasn’t just a love interest, but also the loss of a parent. And then the side plot about Andie’s father always working and never having the time for her. On top of that was friendship, and house parties and summer jobs. 

Please read this book. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Have you read this book? What are your favourite summer romances? Any titles you can recommend? 

Hope you are all having a lovely day. If not, I hope my blog can make you feel better!

erin x

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The Weight Of Water | Poetry, Power & Perfection | Book Review

Sarah Crossan is a recently discovered author for me and every book I’ve read of her’s so far has been really enjoyable! The Weight Of Water was short and powerful. It covered dilemmas that come with immigration and family splits. The main character, Kasienka, was a very complex character and I became very attached to her even though it was only 230 pages long! I enjoy how Crossan uses poetry to create a story and with the lack of detail it allows you to create images of your own and I thought that was really clever. It was full of imagery and many of the lines inspired my own six word stories.

Title: The Weight Of Water

Author: Sarah Crossan

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Number Of Pages: 270

My Rating: 5/5 stars

“They are like waxwork statues: recognisable but lifeless.” – Sarah Crossan, The Weight Of Water

Synopsis

Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.”The Weight of Water” is a startlingly original piece of fiction; most simply a brilliant coming of age story, it also tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails.

You can see my review on Goodreads here:The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Have you read any poetry books recently? Do you have any on your TBR?

erin x

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Orphan Monster Spy | Book Review

Okay, so we’ve encountered a five star read. It’s the first one in a while, which is what really excites me! Historical fiction has got to be my favourite genre and this book has everything in it that I love about the genre. There were elements in it that were  unique, such as including the dreams/nightmares of Sarah. They weaved into the plot slightly and gave it a lot more depth.

Synopsis

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined.

The style of writing wasn’t too ‘heavy’ yet it did have a good few metaphors! I wish I had written them down to how you examples but I’m not a literal critic and this is just meant to be a casual post. Sometimes I really get carried away with myself and start thinking it’s a language exam 😂

It doesn’t have much hype as it was only released in 2018, but I think it deserves more. There isn’t anything romantic or overly ‘YA’ about it other than a bit of bloody description. Similar to The Book Thief it is a book for all ages. I would press my mum to read this if she could before it was due back in the library! I don’t know if it’s for everyone, but as it isn’t spoken about much on bookstagram I don’t know many other opinions. If you have read this then I would really appreciate a chat in the comments!

Have you read any five-star reads this year? Do you like historical fiction?

erin x

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Nowhere On Earth | Nick Lake | Unexpected Twists & Unlike Any YA I’ve Read Before

Though it hasn’t been long since I last published a book review, it feels like ages since I have sat down to write one. I picked up ‘Nowhere On Earth’ from the library because I really wanted to read light contemporary. We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but my first impressions of this book was that it would be a standard YA. It did start off like that but in the middle there was an important, and unexpected announcement (or at least near the middle as I remember it) but I can’t give spoilers! I can only recommend that you should read it.

Title: Nowhere On Earth

Author: Nick Lake

Publisher: Hodder

Number Of Pages: 340

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Throughout the book I was enjoying Nick Lake’s style of writing. There was description present but it was cleverly masked by the intriguing plot. When I book has heavy description it tends to take me a very long time to read it. Whereas I flicked through the novel in a couple of days! The plot wasn’t hard to follow, and you don’t need to read this book my any means. However it is a good book to get you out of a slump, and it’s different to anything I’ve read before in the YA section!

The main message in this book is shown through the brother-sister relationship. Other than the obvious To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series, it is rare to find such prominent sibling affection in a young adult book. For those of you that do like a bit of romance, I’m sorry but this book doesn’t have it. I quite liked that element of it though! 

Synopsis

It starts with a plane crash.

There are survivors: a teenage girl and her little brother. They are running from something. But what?

Then the men arrive. They are hunting the girl and boy. And-

And that’s all we can tell you…

Overall, Nowhere On Earth is an easy read. It has interesting themes and is very unlike anything I’ve read before! 

Have you heard of this book before? What book will always get you out of a reading slump?

erin x

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