finished reading

I'm going to try to capture my thoughts about this book. It's more than 750 pages so I had a lot of thoughts about it. I will also avoid spoilers.

The book starts with Theo and his mother attending a meeting at Theo's school because of his suspension. On the way, they detour, and that detour changes every single thing about Theo's life. Theo as narrator is what I consider somewhat unreliable. I had the feeling that although he's reconstructing the tale, he's self-editing. Although... he tells some unflattering stories about himself. I'm going to stick with my original thought that he's not reliable. The book spans Theo's life from about age 13 until his late twenties, so it's sort of a coming-of-age novel. Theo has a pretty entrenched sense of right and wrong, yet that moral compass doesn't guide his decisions.

The secondary characters are meticulously drawn. I feel as though I know each one of them. Their good and bad. Each character is so different from the next. It's hard to have a favorite character. You can feel how Theo is mesmerized by them, how they compel him to live up to who he thinks they are.

I admit there were a couple of times I was bogged down. I thought I would put the book aside, take a break from it, and read something less literary, more plot driven than character driven. Yet every time I thought that, something would happen and I would get drawn back into the book. I couldn't put it down at times.

You do have to suspend belief. I can't picture it as a movie. Some of the plot devices and twists are a bit contrived but not to the point of cliche. It kept me reading. It kept me entertained.

I love how art, in various forms, is woven through the story.

I understand why this is the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner in Literature.


A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Thanks. I will have to put it on my to read list.

Anonymous said...

I bought this for my kindle recently--it was offered at an absurdly low price--partly because I know it's going to take me quite awhile to get through it and I don't want to have to worry about library due dates. I have to say I'm a little intimidated to start it! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

The Gal Herself said...

I have only heard good things about this book in the media, but you're the only "civilian" I know who has actually read it. I'm encouraged that you endorse it.