Dangerous, Living in Your Own Mind: Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

secret-history-book-jacketSince its publication in 1992, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History has gone on to become an international bestseller and a cult classic. Tartt herself has since published two other books, both of which have met critical acclaim and success, one of them (remember The Goldfinch?) even winning the famed and hugely prestigious Pulitzer Prize. What is it about the author’s words that inspire such devotion and awe? What about The Secret History makes myself and many, many others stare in silence for a time after finishing the book, unable to come to terms with the final words, flying into a fury to get our hands on all other books by the author so that we can enter that unreal and nostalgic world again?

The book follows six college students studying ancient Greek and the classics under the charismatic and highly personable Julian. Henry, Charles, Camilla, Francis, Bunny, and our faithful narrator Richard, become immersed in an ancient world and a professor who deceives himself and those around him. Convincing those lucky enough that they’re special, brilliant, and not at all broken or deplorable. Richard tells us their story, of how dangerous living in your own mind can be, of how easy it can become to do the unthinkable.

Because I’m kinda self-obsessed, the book made me think about myself and the person I am, when alone or with others. Tartt leads readers to the finale, leaving room for introspection and thought on the character’s actions and fates.  It’s a really incredible book, and my words aren’t doing it any justice. I highly recommend this to anyone willing to read and be enthralled by these 500+ pages...You won’t be disappointed.

-Keiko, (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board

Editor's Note: If the 500+ pages seems intimidating, check out the audiobook, I hear it's fantastic! The Secret History