Sunday, April 12, 2009

"The Good Thief" by Hannah Tinti

Summary: Ren, an orphan missing a hand, is adopted by Benjamin Nab. Ren is excited to finally have a "family," but he soon learns that Benjamin and his friend, Tom, are thieves and con artists. Ren begins finding his way among the rag-tag team and learns more about himself and his background.

Musings: The plot to The Good Thief sounds very familiar to other books, notably Dickens and portions of Huckleberry Finn. The principle characters are your standard "thieves with a heart of gold," but I still felt Tinti had created an exciting and interesting story with likable characters.

Ren's principle feature is his missing hand, but the lost limb rarely affects the way he lives his life. His strong Catholic upbringing adds an interesting additional dimension in the beginning of the novel, but Ren's belief seems to be less important later in the book.

About half-way through, the semi-realistic movement of the book disappears as the events become more and more outlandish. However, the book never feels overly contrived. I quickly grew to love the giant murderer Dolly (very similar to the character in Ludo in the movie Labyrinth) regardless of how unlikely his existence was.

The novel ends with a deus ex machina, but the happy ending is rewarding for the reader.

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