Title of book: The Good Thief
Name of author: Hannah Tinti
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline Review (19 Mar 2009)
Twelve year-old Ren is missing his left hand. How it was lost is a mystery that Ren has been trying to solve for his entire life, as well as who his parents are, and why he was abandoned as an infant at Saint Anthony’s Orphanage for boys. He longs for a family to call his own and is terrified of the day he will be sent alone into the world.
But then a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren’s long-lost brother, and his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand and his parents persuades the monks at the orphanage to release the boy and to give Ren some hope. But is Benjamin really who he says he is? Journeying through a New England of whaling towns and meadowed farmlands, Ren is introduced to a vibrant world of hardscrabble adventure filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves. If he stays, Ren becomes one of them. If he goes, he’s lost once again. As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage he comes to suspect that Benjamin not only holds the key to his future, but to his past as well.
‘The Good Thief’ tells the story of Ren, abandoned as a baby and left at the gates of St. Anthony’s orphanage. Ren’s left hand is missing and the only thing that remains is a scar where the flesh was turned over and sewn, an act of kindness that Ren does not remember. The only item that Ren owns from his past is a piece of collar from the night-shirt he was wearing when he was abandoned, sewn on the collar in dark blue thread is simply his name, ‘Ren’
Ren lives his life the best way he can within the walls of the orphanage, surrounded by the brothers of St.Anthony (seeker of lost articles), he has his friends, the twins, Brom and Ichy, who the brothers of the orphanage see as unlucky due to the suicide of their mother. Ren lives for the day when he is adopted or his family return for him, and it does happen in a way, in the form of Benjamin Nab, Ren’s long lost brother, Ren is suddenly in a middle of an adventure which not only tests him to the limit but helps him to find his way in the world.
‘The Good Thief’ is a lovely book, Ren is an original and heart-warming character, a boy who has grown up fast and despite everything that happens to him he keeps his faith and his good character, he is a good thief in so many ways.
All the characters in ‘The Good Thief’ were to me very vibrant and great to read, they all had their own stories, Tom, a former teacher who carries guilt with him, Benjamin, a young man who lives on his instincts and wits, Dolly, a complicated man who finds in Ren someone who believes in him, that he is capable of change and Mrs Shaw who helps Ren.
‘The Good Thief’ is a memorable, sad, and funny book with a great story that you will not want to end and a hero in a boy called Ren.
Read it if you get the chance .