This is a big book, with a big story, and a big THEME. The English teacher in me wants to dissect what Tartt has to say about “art for art’s sake” what with the painting of the goldfinch that the lead character steals from the museum in the moments after the bomb goes off and his mother is killed. But the reader in me only wants to tell you about Boris. I fell in love with Boris from the first moment he appeared in the back of the classroom scene and mumbled “twat” with a barely comprehensible Ukrainian accent to an over-eager AP student. Boris is a beautiful example of a supporting character gone rogue. While we follow the struggles and heartaches of lead character, Theo (whose name I just had to look up), it’s Boris who takes over the story with his day-drinking-cursing-at-strangers-in-four-different-languages-saving-the-dog-from-his-violent-father-stealing-from-the-rich-Robin-Hood ways that makes you want to throw a blanket over his scrawny shoulders, take him home, and feed him something more than the bread and sugar he subsists on throughout the novel. Of course the novel is a hit, with its Pulitzer Prize and 2019 motion picture (staring Nicole Kidman!), but trust me, when you read the book, look for Boris. You won’t be disappointed.
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