The Secret History- Book Review

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First off, I would like to say that I really liked this book! I do recommend it I hope that those of you who haven’t read it will read it. Or at least read this before reading Donna Tartt’s more famous and Pulitzer prize winning book, The Goldfinch. I feel like book reviews remind me of doing a homework assignment so I wanted to break it down and highlight what I liked, what I didn’t like and make it simple.

Goodreads Summary

“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 they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.” 

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SPOILER ALERT–if you plan on reading the book, please stop here.

The Good-
I don’t typically read books that are murder mysteries or thrillers but this one captivated me. The plot was intriguing and the character development was excellent. I felt like I knew the five friends and their tendencies by the end. My favorite character was Henry. He was definitely a bit off but his oddities and extreme behavior made him all the more interesting. I thought Richard, the main character, was strong but had too much pride for his own good. His family abandonment issues were depressing but it was interesting to hear the story all through his point of view and see him develop into an adult. The writing and plot were strong and in my opinion much better than The Goldfinch.

The Bad-
Overall the book was worth the read but I do have some reservations about stories that take far too long to develop the plot. This slow style may be a hallmark of Tartts’ aesthetic since The Goldfinch also took a while to get into. I was also put off by the latin that was randomly interjected into the storyline. It was frustrating to read text (sometimes paragraphs!) that you had no clue about. I wish there was some sort of translation since I am sure there is a reason the author included it in the first place! As far as the story goes, I wish that they did not allude to the murder in the early stages of the book. It took the excitement out of it for me since I already knew what was to come. Also, I was curious to find out more about Richards life after everyone had grown up and it had been years since the murder. Did he move back to Plano, CA? What was he doing now?

Overall, I would rate it a 7/10. Did you get a chance to read any of Donna Tartt’s books? What do you think of her writing? Would love to hear what you all think. Next up in our book club is, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Stay tuned for the next book review!

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