I am in a quandary. My book club is reading a book this month that is wildly popular and famous – weeks and weeks on the NYT best seller list, nominated for – and winning many – prestigious awards, seemingly uniformly loved, but I just do not like it.
The book is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Stephen King loved it. Ron Charles loved it. As of today, 4,134 readers on Amazon.com gave it five stars. I know they can’t all be wrong, but I’ve read 6% of the book (that’s right, it’s on my Kindle), I’m in the middle of what I assume is the grand inciting incident, and I’m opting to play Solitaire on my iPad rather than pick up the book and read. I need to finish the remaining 94% before June 18 when my book club meets.
If you can give me any good reasons why I’m wrong to think this is a wordy, overblown snoozefest, please let me know. Give me hope that at some point Tartt is able to write a sentence that’s shorter than 56 words long like this one:
Usually she was home just when she said she’d be, so if she was ten minutes late I began to fret; any later, and I sat on the floor by the front door of the apartment like a puppy left alone too long, straining to hear the rumble of the elevator coming up to our floor.
(The sentence that proceeds this one is at least three times as long. If Tartt simply told her story the book would be a third its current length. Do you think she was hoping to sell it by the pound?)
If, like me, you have ever found yourself swimming against the tide in your assessment of a very popular book, I’d love to hear about that, too.