Monday, December 1, 2014

Review: "The Little Friend" by Donna Tartt (2014 Re-Review)

Last year, I decided to reread a book from a few years back, one that I felt deserved another chance after my first thoughts felt a bit swift and unformed, and it was a success with my opinion of Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle changing drastically. That happened again this year when I decided to reread Donna Tartt’s sophomore novel The Little Friend. Too bad it is the other way around, since I came away from this novel disliking it much more than I did the first time. I feel a lot of my discontent with this novel has to do with feelings for her other two novels, The Secret History and, more importantly, The Goldfinch. Each book is a modern classic, the works of a writer who is miles ahead of many writers working today at a level they wish they could function, and The Little Friend, a boring book of dry academic origin masquerading as a southern gothic thriller, makes the experience real hard to swallow. I won’t get into the plot so much, since I already have a written review somewhere on my blog, but I will talk about my few likes and a few of my many dislikes as I was reading this. The opening is awesome, where the decaying Dufrense family finally crumbles when they find the dead body of the Robin, the prized grandson, hanging from a tree next to there house. It is a feeling that doesn’t last long though, as the next 500 pages become dry and monotonous as Tartt writes about low people in a way that comes off as showboating, which is beneath her, and while I like Harriet, and even Hely, her male admirer which, as a testament to Tartt’s unparalleled skill to make him real and not a caricature, no one comes off as anything but superfluous. I feel Tartt is out of her element here trying to write about the place she grew up, but it doesn’t feel like her place at all, and this is one blemish on a career that will be rightfully remembered for ages.

Rating: 2/5

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