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30 Years with The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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So begins The Secret History, the debut novel that launched Donna Tartt into the literary stratosphere 30 years

An instant classic, it is one of those rare books that gripped readers from its intense first

I know the feeling personally — I have read The Secret History every year for the last 30 years

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot of The Secret History, let me give

He’s dissatisfied with life, kind of a lonely only child, and not really attached to anything

Just as Richard is becoming resigned to the fact that he’s going to keep living an

A liberal arts college on the other side of the country, where no one knows him, and

Particularly the group of classics students: Henry, Francis, Bunny, and the twins, Charles and Camilla

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On a campus of snobby elites, the Classics group is considered the most exclusive

Richard, who has actually studied Ancient Greek, is told the class is full and he can’t

But friendships become strained when something bad happens with the group

If you remember back to the first sentence: “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny

” One of the amazing marvels that Donna Tartt pulls off with this book is telling readers exactly

She does it on the very first page, and then has you flipping pages to find out

My mother used to work at a bookstore in town, and I would go there after school

I’d read it cover to cover, even if I wasn’t interested in some of the

In the September 1992 issue, I came upon a feature on Donna Tartt and the release of The

She was in her late twenties then, and photographed posing with her pug

And a book about murder and secrets among teenagers, written for grown ups? I knew I had

As luck would have it, my mother also worked at the town library

) The Secret History had been added to the new release shelves and I was the second or

I read it so fast, staying up all night to finish it, and immediately declared it the

As a kid in a poor family in the wealthiest town in our state who couldn’t

 (I also didn’t get very far away — a whole seven miles, lol

Living away from your parents, where nobody knew you, you could remake yourself

And there was the partying, and doing drugs, and making such good friends that you would do

) If this was what being on your own was going to be like, I couldn’t wait

) And then I read it again in February of 1993, and for some reason that’s when I

What I have learned is there is something beautiful about revisiting a work of art that was/

I discovered that different sentences stood out to me as I got older

It’s not just the sentences I love that have changed for me, as I have aged,

I was a little in love with the broody Henry (which could explain my past questionable relationship

I love The Secret History so much that I will read any book that is compared to

That’s not to say that some of those other books I read weren’t good

(I jest, but I still pick up every single one, so it’s proof it works

I can’t even definitively pick one single favorite anymore

But The Secret History has certainly been the most important to me

Reading has saved my life again and again, and The Secret History certainly played a big part

For more Donna Tartt and dark academia books, check out Donna Tartt; A Reading Pathway, 8 Books To