The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a book you will either hate or love. I also found it very depressing until the very end when the hero finally finds a reason for living.
Theo suspended from school has been called in for a conference along with his Mother . Theo had apparently been struggling ever since his Father walked out on them, with no way to find him. Having some spare time before the conference and loving art Theo's Mom takes him to see "Portraiture and Nature Morte: Northern Masterworks of The Golden Age". The piece she particular wants to see is The Goldfinch. Theo being a typical 13 year old boy is more interested in the red headed girl who is at the museum with her Uncle Welty. When the bomb goes off Theo and his Mom are in different parts of the Museum. When Theo awakens the only one in the room with him is a dying Welty. Welty gives him his ring and tells him where to take it and also encourages him to save The Goldfinch. Dazed and confused Theo puts various things in a shopping bag including The Goldfinch and wanders out of the deserted Museum after Welty dies. Not knowing what to do he follows the plan, to go to their apartment to wait for his Mom if they are separated. When night falls and she hasn't returned he frantically starts making phone calls.
Child Protective Services show up and intend to stick him in the Foster care system until he gives them the name of his friend Andy. Both of these bright boys have been promoted a grade level and are picked on by their classmates at the private school Theo has a scholarship too. Andy's well to do parents take Theo in after his Grandparents refuse to and his Dad can't be tracked down. Slowly Theo starts to remember things and he takes Welty's ring to Hobie and discovers the red headed girl (Pippa) is alive. The three become friends and Theo begins to come out of his depression. Then Pippa's Aunt arrives and takes her away. Shortly after Theo's Dad shows up with his girlfriend and takes Theo to Las Vegas. Theo doesn't know what to do with the painting and is afraid if anyone finds out he has it he will get in trouble so he hides it in his suitcase.
Theo's Dad pretty much neglects him and he starts hanging out and drinking and doing drugs with Boris. Theo's Dad tries to get his hand on money Theo's Mom put away for his education but the lawyer Mr. Bracegirdle thwarts him and Theo's Dad gets drunk and drives into the desert where he crashes his car and dies. Afraid that Child Protective Services will come for him Theo flees to New York with his dog on the bus, ignoring Boris' plea for him to stay just one more day. Scared and sick he arrives on Hobie's doorstep and Hobie takes him in. Eventually they become partners and Theo runs the antique shop while Hobie repairs and makes furniture. Theo still terrified he will get in trouble if anyone finds out he has The Goldfinch hides it in a storage facility.
Out of the blue Boris shows up to apologize to Theo, who has been unaware all these years that Boris stole The Goldfinch from him. He has been using The Goldfinch as collateral, a deal went bad and he lost it. Determined to make things right with Theo, Boris and Theo head to Amsterdam to get the painting, they briefly recover it before the bad guys take it from them. Separated from Boris Theo is sick and scared and contemplates suicide before Boris shows up and reveals he called the Art Crimes people and they have retrieved The Goldfinch and several other paintings, with the reward money Theo and Boris are now rich, and Theo is able to correct some of his mistakes.
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