Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 5, 2023
September 28, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
At the beginning of the novel, Theo is thirteen. He worships his mother, Audrey, who is also his best friend. Theo is fascinated by strangers and likes to keep secrets, which is the reason he follows Pippa and Welty in the museum rather than going with Audrey to the gift shop, a choice that likely saves his life. Theo is sensitive and insecure. Larry, Theo’s alcoholic father, has recently left home, which doesn’t bother Theo much. After Audrey’s death, Theo’s young psyche unravels. He starts making bad decisions out of shame, guilt, confusion, and an intense grief that he cannot express. When Theo moves to Las Vegas and meets Boris, he makes even worse choices and has little supervision. He and Boris enjoy a volatile friendship but form a deep, lifelong bond. Both boys’ mothers are dead. Both boys have abusive or neglectful fathers. And both boys simply long for unconditional love.
Back in New York, after Larry’s death, the adult Theo descends even further into despair, self-destructive behavior, and, finally, crime. He wants to heal from the grief and guilt from his mother’s death as well as the shame created when he took the painting. While in Amsterdam, he nearly kills himself after he fails to retrieve The Goldfinch. Only when the painting is returned to the art world does Theo find peace.