Oh boy. Whatta ride. This novel grabbed me from the get-go and didn't let go. It starts with an explosion in an art gallery in New York, in which a 13-year-old boy loses his mother and gains a masterpiece, a tiny painting called The Goldfinch.
What happens next to Theo Decker, the boy, is the stuff of Dickens: Theo is thrown into a series of worlds that are every bit as explosive and life altering as the initial explosion was in the art gallery. As in the aftermath of the gallery explosion, Theo proves himself to be a survivor. He suffers profound loss and he makes profound choices. Some of his choices are laudable. Some are tragic. All are compelling. The constant throughout the book is the painting Theo stole. It is his only link to his mother, his loss of innocence, his tool for survival, and comes very close to being his ultimate undoing.
This book weighs in at almost 800 pages. Each page is worth reading. Toward the end of the book, I found myself reading faster and faster to find out what would happen to both Theo and The Goldfinch, all the while mourning the fact that the book would ultimately end.