Why I Gave Up on The Goldfinch

23 March 2020



Hello Readers & Friends,

I should have known I would be writing this post! I have seen Donna Tart raved about everywhere. People love to say they've read A Secret History, or The Goldfinch, and to be honest, the paperbacks are very instagrammable.

I had my concerns, but I got my copy second hand and it wasn't a big investment so I figured I'd get round to it. I put it off for a year. Something about just looking at it and reading the blurb put me off. I wrote a post on Instagram and a few people suggested the audiobook as an easier option, so I downloaded that and off we went.

I DNF at chapter 6. Why? Because, just like I suspected, I am 6 chapters deep and don't know anybodies name and nothing is happening. And this isn't a problem with Tart, it's a genre issue. I just really, really hate literary fiction. I've tried to love it, I want to sound intelligent and find deeper meanings in the book I read, but I just fall asleep trying to get there.

I asked a girl at my work who specialises in literary fiction to describe it as a genre and she replied, "Books where nothing happens but the character develops."
That. Is. Spot. On.
But there's the problem - I don't like books where nothing happens! I want drama and action and romance and heartbreak and twists and turns and world building is a bonus! I don't want to read a book as fat as The Goldfinch and come out thinking, what a waste of time.

There are only two literary fiction books I have ever enjoyed. The first was Catcher in the Rye, which I enjoyed so much  because it's the most goddamn depressing book I've ever read (and it's short), and A Little Life, which is also the most depressing thing ever written.
But would I read either of them again? No.

I feel like literary fiction is just like olives. I try one a year and every year I remember why I hate them.

Sorry, I guess I'm just not high-brow enough! (But we all knew that anyway because I gave a Wattpad book called The QB Bad Boy and Me 4 stars.)

Love,
C x

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