Book Reviews

The Secret History


I had heard nothing but praise for The Secret History so I was excited to give it a try. I had become a big fan of Tartt’s after reading The Goldfinch. And while I had my criticisms with that book it was one I valued reading. On top of that the setting took place in Vermont, my personal happy place – so I was doubly excited to dive in. However, it was not long into the book that I knew it was not for me.

While, I did enjoy the depth of character portrayals and beautiful descriptions of the setting, in my opinion, Tartt’s specialty, I had a hard time investing in the plot. I had an especially hard time accepting their justifications for their actions. In other words, I was unable to invest myself in the fate of a group of overprivileged young murderers. Perhaps, of course, that is the point. Not to have us fall in love with these characters but to delve headfirst into the psyches of a group of ‘causal killers.’

At times, like all of Tartt’s books, I felt that the text dragged and became bogged down with unnecessary descriptions. What I did enjoy however was the ending. I think that while the story was not neatly sealed in the fashion we as readers are used to, it was apropos for the characters and the overall theme. In conclusion, I am not unhappy I read the book but I certainly wouldn’t put it on my list of favorites.

3 of 5 Stars




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