But sometimes, unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me gasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illuminated in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.
I could not give this book five stars as I did actually have problems with this. I think that I would have been able to had I not seen the hype around it before reading it. While this was beautifully written at points (especially the quote I included above), I just want expecting (or even liked) the path that Theo took.
I don't know quite what I expected when I started this but I know I wasn't expecting to grow to love a character and then be forced to watch his slow downward spiral. I absolutely loved the first part of this book, it was beautifully written and it made me love and feel protective over Theo. While I know that he probably wouldn't have been on a squeaky clean path had the event at the museum not happened, it clearly exacerbated any issues he had our would have had. Once Theo moved to Las Vegas everything went downhill for me.
Most of this book was Theo making bad decisions and trusting completely untrustworthy people. The older he became the more I didn't like him. I guess as someone who has gone through trauma and seen how it can haunt you for years to come I might have been hoping for a much happier, unrealistic story. What Donna Tartt managed to capture so brilliantly was how absolutely realistic Theo's emotions and actions were. This felt like life, difficult and painful, jumping right off the pages.
I had to gather my thoughts (and I still don't think they are gathered enough) before I wrote this review. This book angered and depressed me but it was also one of the best books I have read all year.