Date finished: February 15, 2019

Rating: ★★★

The Little Friend, Donna Tartt

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. While Tartt is an incredible writer, and I’d probably read anything she published regardless of plot, I had a hard time with The Little Friend.

I’ve read The Goldfinch and The Secret History and have been blown away in both instances (though I hated the plot of the latter), but this one left me confused.

In the case of The Little Friend, Tartt expertly (as usual) weaves the tale of a young girl named Harriet whose older brother was murdered when she was a baby and she becomes determined (in the way of any 12-year-old) to solve the murder. But the story’s not a mystery, despite what the first chapter would lead you to believe, and the murder is, in the end, largely an irrelevant plot point that could have been used to craft much more compelling reading.

In addition to Harriet’s story (and that of her extensive family), we’re also thrust into the world of the Ratliff family, a largely seedy bunch whom Harriet believes to be involved in the death of her brother. Between the names and histories of Harriet’s relatives and friends in addition to those surrounding the Ratliffs, it’s easy to get lost in the character development and to lose sense of who’s important to the overarching narrative. I really enjoyed Harriet’s adventures (she falls somewhere between Huck Finn and Scout Finch), but the deluge of characters and storylines (as well as the sheer number of pages they add) took away from the story and had me fighting to stay interested.

I’ve recommended The Goldfinch since the minute I closed the book, but it’s difficult to find points worthy of recommendation with The Little Friend

Photo courtesy @chelslovestoread (Instagram)

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