Product info (from Goodreads):
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
It was a story about loss, mourning, growing up all alone, and taking responsibility for your deeds. The plot was rich and detailed, revolving about a painting by Carel Fabritius Theo took from the museum the day his mother died and failed to return. Yes, the book starts with a tragedy but the tension it created soon dissolves.
You follow that stolen painting and a lonely, lost boy and the many bad decisions he makes, influenced by bad genetics, a dangerously unstable friend, and the bad example of his father, by the trauma of violence of the worst kind, and several kinds of dislocation. I like flawed heroes so it suited me just fine but I admit sometimes the narration was bordering boredom. I also rather disliked Boris – a character which was so artificial that he sounded sometimes grotesque, as grotesque as was his reveling in drug-fueled stupidity, antics, and parties. A Dickensian novel? Certainly there was a whiff of that but also a novel which would profit from a serious editing session and many, many cuts.
A brilliant story with memorable characters; most of the book is incredibly well done and fun to read. Still there were parts which bored me almost to DNF. I am conflicted. Do I regret reading it? No. Would I read it the second time? I doubt it.