I had been excited to read this book for months because I just kept hearing about it everywhere. I swear I saw this book recommended about a million times before I actually had the chance to crack it up and give it a read. I've been traveling over the past couple of days to our vacation spot in beautiful Costa Rica, and I've been glued to my Kindle, finishing up this book on the flights. I'm excited to hear what you thought!
If you haven't finished the book yet, fair warning: this discussion will likely contain SPOILERS. So beware.
I must say, I was pretty surprised by this book. I was not expecting such a young protagonist to be thrust into such difficult/adult situations. I had a hard time putting myself in Theo's shoes because he experiences circumstances that are so far beyond my own. Both of my parents are still living and actively involved in my life, and I can't imagine losing them at his age.
I'd love to hear what you thought of this month's book. You can comment on the following discussion points. Feel free to reference the number if you like. Or you are welcome to bring up new discussion points or ideas.
1. Probably the most obvious question that we must discuss first is what is the goldfinch? What does the painting represent in Theo's life (or in general)?
2. What do you think of the Barbour family? They take Theo in after his mother's death, but do you get the feeling that they resent this effort, or not? What do you think of their reaction to Theo later in life?
3. What do you think of the way fellow peers and adults treat Theo after his mother's death? Were you surprised by some of their reactions? Have you ever experienced anything similar (from either side)? I remember a young man losing his home (by a house fire) when I was in middle school, and I remember having no idea what to say to him to communicate that I cared, but I couldn't really do anything for him. It's a tough feeling, so I could understand some of the students simply choosing to avoid Theo.
4. What about the role of chaos in this book. Do you think the world is chaotic and full of experiences that we cannot have control over (like the explosion that killed Theo's mother)? Do the characters in the book feel this way? How does it shape the choices of their lives?
5. I don't usually ask this, as I often think it's assumed, but did you like the book? Did you stay up all night reading it, or did you find it a chore? One of my favorite things about this book club experience is seeing how others react to a book, often in different ways than me.
Let us know your thoughts, and don't forget to get your copy of if you plan to join in on the SpG book club next month. xo. Didier
Credits // Author: Didier Li. Photography: Sarah Rhodes.