A thirteen-year-old boy in New York City, Theodore qTheoq Decker, survives a terrorist bombing attack in an art museum that takes the life of his mother (and dozens of other art-loving citizens). His father wasn't there, having deserted the family some time prior to these events. Theo adored his energetic, beautiful mother - as did many other people in Manhattan - and thinks of his father as an alcoholic, occasionally abusive, and as a thief. Theo accepts a ring and an enigmatic message given to him by a man, elderly Welton qWeltyq Blackwell, who dies in the rubble of the explosion. Theo is willing to unravel the puzzle, because (before the bomb went off) he had found himself fascinated by a red-headed girl, Pippa, also at the Museum that day and who was somehow related to the old man, and on her account, he will grant the dying man's last request. Believing that the old man, Welty, is pointing at a painting (The Goldfinch) on the wall, Theo takes that also in his panicked escape. The taking of these items - one handed over freely, a family heirloom, the other a literally qpricelessq painting by Carel Fabritius - was done by Theo in a state of terror, concussion, and shock, with no ability to reason how these minor-seeming actions would influence the rest of his life. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo lives with a school friend, Andy Barbour, and his family (Mr. Barbour, a pleasant man as long as he takes his prescribed medication; Mrs. Barbour, a seemingly chilly but kind socialite who likes Theo; Platt, the oldest son, a boarding school bully; Andy, 14, a genius nerd; Kitsey, 9, qa candyfloss Disney Princessq; and Toddy, the youngest, who, Theo learns many years later, decided at an early age to join local government to assist disadvantaged youths, because he was impressed by Theo's disastrous background). Theo lives in the Barbours' elegant house for several months and is fairly happy there (despite his continuing nightmares and posttraumatic stress disorder). Unbeknownst to the Barbours, Theo has carried out the last wishes of the dying man (qWeltyq) and becomes friends with James qHobieq Hobart, Welty's partner. Mrs. Barbour, who has always seemed rather qicyq to Theo, but is much fonder of him than he realized, generously invites him to join the family for their summer holidays in Maine. Theo is delighted. These dreams, of reading books and goofing off with Andy, shatter when his deadbeat dad, Larry Decker, along with Larry's new girlfriend, Xandra, show up at the Barbours' estate and whisks him (and the painting) away to Las Vegas.A thirteen-year-old boy in New York City, Theodore aquot;Theoaquot; Decker, survives a terrorist bombing attack in an art museum that takes the life of his mother (and dozens of other art-loving citizens).
|Publisher||:||Rideit - 1954|