The Goldfinch

It’s refreshing to read a book narrated by a not-in-any-way-heroic person. Potter is real. He has faults and he makes mistakes. I didn’t know what I was stepping into when I picked up Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, but I’m glad I took the recommendation.

The Goldfinch is a book to take your time with. Do not, do not rush. It deserves the time it takes to read nearly 800 pages. The highs and lows and humanity of it all won’t disappoint.

At times, I found myself reflecting on the similar themes of Kerouac’s American classic On the Road: drugs, travel, truth and hunting for it, art, and the temporary status of life.

And to top it off, the writing is remarkable. There are sentences, illustrations, and moments throughout that I found myself re-reading for the beauty of the words.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

4 stars: Men We Reaped – by Jesmyn Ward

Men We Reaped is the second book penned by Jesmyn Ward that I’ve read. And recently. For a reason.

My expectations were scattered:

  • Could it possibly live up to Ward’s incredible work in Salvage the Bones?
  • As a memoir, what themes will Ward weave through her writing that were or weren’t present in her other writing I’ve explored?
  • I know that she’s overwhelmed and passionate about racial equality – how will that be evoked?
  • The first word of the title is “men” – but it’s Ward’s memoir. Why?

In short: Ward didn’t disappoint. She explains from the get go precisely how she’s constructed the memoir, the order of chapters, the reasoning for the order… all without revealing just where she’s going or why.

She uses each chapter to reveal a section of time in her life and a relationship with a man that meant something to her – friends, acquaintances, her own brother. She’ll break your heart but you’ll learn something: about the narrator; about the racial divide in America in the 70s, 80s, and 90s; and quite possibly about yourself as well.

She loses these men – these incredible life connections – to drugs, accidents, poverty, and horrid luck. Ward pushes past these themes though in order to move beyond her grief, and to define her community and the mindset of a generation.


Rating: 4 of 5 stars