Book Review: The Secret History

Tartt, Donna
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Donna Tartt and her debut novel The Secret History is one that will stick with me for quite a long time.
The Secret History follows insecure Richard Papen, a somewhat timid boy from Plano California. Richard, desperate to leave Plano and his unattentive parents, decides to go to college at Hampden, a school in Vermont, specializing in Humanities. Of course, when Richard arrives, he completely falls in love with Hampden and its very "Dead Poets Society" vibe to the school. Previously wanting to be in the medical field, but soon after developing a distaste for the field, Richard promptly decides to turn to studying the classics. We discover Julian, the only teacher of Greek in the college, who only takes five students a year in his class. Somehow, Richard makes it into this selective course, becoming the sixth member. We as readers are introduced to the slightly odd and quirky members of the Greek class, and come along with Richard as he slowly develops a friendship with each of them. However, Richard deduces that something is off about his new friends, and with this, dark secrets are unraveled, and we watch as each of the classmates descend into madness.
The Secret History touches upon the study of human morality, and the concept that terrible things hold a kind of beauty to them. I really enjoyed reading this novel and being forced to face psychological dilemmas. What is good? What is evil? What makes someone good or evil? The Secret History really led me around by the nose, and I enjoyed the twists and turns I experienced because of this novel. There were many influential quotes in this story and the writing was beautiful. Even though the novel might have a darker mood, I couldn't help but be enraptured by every word Tartt set out for me.
Overall, if you enjoy a "dark academia" style of book, and is willing to read this novel with an open mindset, The Secret History is definitely for you.

Reviewer Grade: 11

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