Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Goldfinch

 I don't even know where to start with this book. It's 771 pages of crazy. Of hope in between despair and love and friendship and most of all, a painting. We start in New York, with thirteen-year-old Theo Decker. His life is changed, he accidentally steals a super famous painting, and then he roams from home to home and grows up a bit broken.

I can't do this book justice. If you read literary fiction, it won a Pulitzer and if that's your cup of tea, you've probably already read it. If teas not really your thing, this would be a good book to start with. It's long, it's dark, but it certainly keeps you on your toes.
"...if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don't think, 'oh, I love this picture because it's universal.' 'I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.' That's not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It's a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you." - The Goldfinch
Honestly, this is another one of those books. The mammoth ones that span decades of time. Just when I decide I'm really rooting for Theo and the way his world is working, something new happens, and we jump several years forward. And them I'm like, "ew. I don't know who you are anymore or what you're doing and why should I care?" It's like starting a whole new book. So I go read a nice small bestseller that I can devour in a couple hours. And then after a few weeks, I come back and try and figure out what's going on in the book.

How am I going to teach children how to read and be real adult readers one day if it I read only two books of merit a year and 100 books that are as worthwhile as Cosmo magazine? This is when I have to go back to my new Bible, The Book Whisperer, where Donalyn Miller reminds me that, yes, we adult readers have bad habits. We abandon books or get distracted and read other books, and that's ok. I mean, it's not perfect. But it's ok to admit to your students that we all do this. You can be a reader, a good reader, a master reader, and still sometimes get caught staying up all night reading some page-turner drivel that will be turned into a movie that everyone will forget about in five years. That's ok.

And maybe at 27, I'm still growing as a reader. And maybe that's ok too. I don't have to have all of the answers to teach elementary school. Maybe the most important lesson is that no one has all the answers, it's ok to ask for help, and all of us are still learning.

One day I will read a massive tome of literary fiction without disappearing for weeks at a time into bestsellers. Maybe in my 30s. Maybe after that year I finally get off my butt and run a marathon. But today is not that day. (She says, writing blog post after blog post instead of finishing The Bone Clocks. pg 284 of 624. Day 76 of currently reading.)

No comments:

Post a Comment