The Secret History by Donna Tartt

29044

Title: The Secret History

Author: Donna Tartt

Pages: 523

Genre: Literary Fiction, Modern Classic

Publisher: Knopf

Publication Date: October 16, 1992

Rating: /5

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

Goodreads

I went into this thinking it had a mystery aspect but oh no it doesn’t. The very first page, two paragraphs in, we find out who is killed and who killed this person. The Secret History is really about what led up to the killing of this person and then it deals with the consequences of this action. And I loved it. But I also just don’t know how to talk about it. This book seems so big in my head that I have a hard time explaining all the different parts of it.

I very much enjoy character driven stories and this is definitely one of them. In fact, Donna Tartt is probably one of my top favorite authors because she is so incredibly talented at writing characters. All the characters in this group of college kids felt so real to me but at the same time we only see them through the lens of Richard. I can see why some people might not like this aspect but I found it really enjoyable. We get to know a lot about Richard through his interactions with the people around him and less from him explaining things to us the reader. If you are familiar with my reviews you will know that I really appreciate it when an author shows the reader things versus telling us. Also, the other members of the Greek class are very complex. I could honestly write whole essays on each of the characters and how their story progresses throughout the book. Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla are where The Secret History really shines.

Another plus to Tartts writing is all the foreshadowing she does in the story. There are so many times when we are just moving along in the story and then Richard drops a line alluding to something (usually shocking) that is going to happen. I would get so excited by these little nuggets of information and it made it hard to put the book down. I also love how well Tartt brought the environment of the book to life. If you want to know what America was like in the early 90’s this book will tell you. The good, the bad and the ugly.

The only reason that I couldn’t give this book five stars is because I do think that it lagged  at times. The Goldfinch is a bigger book than this one but to me that book had perfect pacing. This book sometimes felt stuck at some parts. I think for me it was exhausting to read about all the times Richard drinks and does drugs away from the other characters. I didn’t mind when it was mentioned here or there but when whole pages were devoted to it I felt myself not caring. Perhaps, my issue with this book really lays with how I only felt connected to Richard when it came to his interactions with the other characters.

Honestly, Tartt is one of the best authors of our time and everyone should read her books. Also, if you enjoy true crime shows like Snapped or Dateline than I think you will appreciate this book. One of the appeals for me in watching those shows is how people can actually commit murder and that is one of the main themes in this book. This is a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I look forward to rereading it one day.

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Day 6

I contemplated all day if I should post this because day 6 was a complete fail :< It was a thunderstorm and hail kind of a day which just puts me into the mood to lay on the couch and watch tv all day. Although, instead of doing that I got sucked into a Reddit vortex instead. Which is also irritating because if I was going to be reading I should have been reading my readathon books. I don’t often have lazy days though so I’m trying to not beat myself up too much about it. That does mean that I’m probably only going to finish the 3 books that I have already read earlier since I have lots of stuff planned for Sunday.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I read a whole 6 pages of this. I think this book is superbly written and I have so many thoughts on this but I feel like they are half formed because I only know a little more than half the story. I definitely feel like you could administer a personality test based on who you think the baby belongs to. Ng does an incredible job of not taking sides and just leaving it up the reader to decide. I’m also really annoyed at the character of Izzy. I don’t understand her intense rudeness to others. Well, her mom I understand but not the way she talks to strangers and family friends. I also can’t believe this book was written in 2017 and yet perfectly captures 1997.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian

I only read 4% more of this book. I remember hearing this book has a great ending and I have an idea of what I want to happen and I can’t wait to see if I’m right. I don’t want to say what it is in case I’m right or close to right and accidentally spoil someone. I will say at 11% into this that I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys thrillers not liking this book.

Books Completed: 3

My new goal is to hopefully have these two books finished by the time I post my readathon wrap up on Tuesday. Hopefully day 7 is a much better reading day.

~Cassie

Fox Book Club

Last year I didn’t read a single big book. I read 92 books and they were all under 500 pages. When I realized that I was so disappointed in myself. I used to prefer big books when I was younger because there was more story, more word building, more everything. So going into this year I knew that one of my goals would be to read big books. It ended up working out perfectly because one of my favorite booktubers, BookswithEmilyFox announced at the start of the year that she was going to create a book club where we could all read her monthly big book along with her. During her monthly TBR videos she picks a big book at random from a Harry Potter mug and I have really been looking forward to her picks. Since it is March there have been three picks and two are books that I have been wanting to read for a while. The other was a young adult fantasy that I enjoyed so all the picks been working at really well so far.

IMG_2190

January Pick: The Passage by Justin Cronin

February Pick: A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

March Pick: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I have been behind since the beginning the book club started though which is the only downside. I am falling further and further behind every month so I think I might have to skip a month to catch back up. It is March 18 while I write this and I still have not started the March pick. It is the Buzzwordathon this week so I’m not going to be able to pick it up until next Monday at the earliest.

If you like reading big books or want to start reading big books I will leave a link to the Goodreads page here. I would be so proud to update you all at the end of the year and have completed all the book picks for the year but I think I can happily settle for reading 10 of the 12.

~Cassie