A terrorist bombing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art turns 14-year-old Theo Decker's life upside-down: his young mother is killed, and the traumatized Theo unthinkingly snatches her favorite painting, The Goldfinch, from the wreckage. The theft, coupled with the derailment of his life, plunges Theo into a morass of drug addiction, alcoholism and art fraud. By the time Theo is in his 20s and engaged to a beautiful Manhattan socialite, his past has begun to catch up to him--poised to come to a final explosive denouement in Amsterdam.
Colorful characters abound: Theo's father, a degenerate gambler and failed actor; antique dealer Hobie, who takes Theo under his wing; high school friend Boris, whose access to drugs and predilection for violence contribute to the downward spiral of Theo's adult life. And there is the Barbour family, a wealthy Park Avenue clan whose elegance serves to remind Theo of all that he doesn't have.
At the center of Theo's life is his love for Pippa, a girl he glimpses in the Met just before the explosion. This obsession is ultimately the heart of the novel, because it is Theo's secret--the stolen painting, and his accumulating misdeeds--that must keep him forever alienated from the girl he loves. --Ilana Teitelbaum, book reviewer at the Huffington Post