Book Review: The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

I just finished reading The Secret History, a book that took me a month to get through. My sister gave me the book at least three years ago, and I’ve noticed it sitting in my “to read” pile at least a hundred times since. Why has it sat for so long? Well, my sister and I have completely different taste in books. She rarely suggests or gives me books, and the ones she has, I’ve faithfully suffered through. So I’m now a bit hesitant to pick up anything she suggests. “The Secret History,” however, was different. I remembered that she suggested the book because she felt it was dark, and expected that I would enjoy the story line considering my love of all things horrific. She was 1/2 right about my liking the book. I developed a love/hate attitude toward the book while reading it. This was one of those books you read and can’t wait for it to end but at the same time, can’t put it down. Over and over again I wanted to throw it aside and start reading something new, only to have another side of me take over, determined to finish the read. What did I love; what did I hate? I loved the author’s incorporation of ancient Greek studies, including ancient text. However, I didn’t like that the Greek portion started strong in the beginning of the book and dropped off as the story progressed. This novel is long and drawn out, but I got the feeling that the author was forced to condense it or dumb it down from possibly twice the size. I felt that some of the more intellectual portions of the novel were cut out, including essential information about the college professor. As much as I hate reading thousand page books, I think it may have been better if longer. I loved that the author gave away the ending in the beginning of the book, but…when the details of the murders were revealed, the plot was predictable. Now, despite the negative comments I’ve made, I suggest reading the book. Just be prepared to spend some time getting through it.

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