Adventures With Words

In which much reading and writing is meant to be done…

Reviewed: “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

I have done it. I have read THE SECRET HISTORY. Been meaning to do that for awhile, glad it’s one box ticked on my list of reading things to do.

Will I read it again? Maybe?

Here’s the thing… it’s fine. It’s got mystery and suspense and drama and angst. All good things.

But the characters are so… they’re such awful people in general that it takes some of the shine off those four things that I like in my novels. You need someone to root for, you know? And I wasn’t rooting any of this crowd of pretentious adult children.

And I know that’s the point of the book, that awful people do awful things and awful people are drawn to each other like moths to a flame.

At least I think that’s the point of the book. I’m really confused by chunks of the plot. Although… I feel like Donna Tartt might’ve meant it that way? I really don’t know, obviously.

Here’s what I do know – it was fine. Not a bad way to start off my year in reading and I read a book I was very much intimidated to read, because of the hype after THE GOLDFINCH came out and renewed interest in THE SECRET HISTORY.

I’m not currently planning to read THE GOLDFINCH, because this Tartt novel has left me… exhausted of awful people, but I’m open to changing my mind if you’ve read it and loved it, or want to tell me it’s a whole lot different.

In the end, the clutch of self-absorbed twenty-somethings who studied Greek with a slightly stereotype liberal arts professor in rural Vermont all got what was coming to them. So the ending wasn’t bad at all.

I’d actually rate the book 3 1/2 stars but since Goodreads doesn’t operate in halves, it’s a 3 from me because, randomly, Tartt made up an entire ‘terrorist’ country for the loopy professor to have worked in, and been an honored guest in and that was just… it threw the whole thing off for awhile there.

tw: drug use (so much drug use), alcoholism (so so much alcohol), suicide, murder, mentions of rape, mental and physical abuse

2 responses to “Reviewed: “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt”

  1. I adore your reviews and covet your mad skills.

    1. Well. That’s a fantastically kind thing to say! Thank you! I have about zero confidence in my ability to write worthwhile, semi-valuable book reviews but I’m still at it so it is so lovely to hear that someone appreciates them!

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About Me

An English diarist and naval administrator. I served as administrator of the Royal Navy and Member of Parliament. I had no maritime experience, but I rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, diligence, and my talent for administration.


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