‘The Good Thief’ by Hannah Tinti

What if you don’t have a family? What if you don’t know who your parents are? I asked these questions myself while I was reading “The Good Thief” written by Hannah Tinti, where Ren, the main character ,has to face a life without a family.

Ren is a little infant, who was left at the Saint Anthony’s orphanage, when he was a baby. He is missing his left hand, but no one knows how he lost it.  Some times foster parents visit the orphanage to adopt a little orphan. But Ren is passed over every time. One day a man named Benjamin Nab appears, who takes Ren, by claiming to be his older brother. Ren is very happy to leave the orphanage. But he doesn’t know that Benjamin is a liar and a crook. Slowly he gets involved in the way how Benjamin makes a living. They travel together to scam people and Ren becomes a thief like Benjamin. But after a while Ren discovers Benjamin’s real identity and also that Benjamin knows more about his past……

When you pick up a book, the first thing you see is the cover and the title. When I started to read this book, I had the title every time in my mind. While reading the parts, where Ren scammed people, I didn’t have the feeling he was a real thief.  Because the title gave me the feeling he wasn’t.  Although I knew the things he did, weren’t right. It wasn’t Hannah Tinti, who conceived the title. Because she planned to call her book “Resurrection Men”, but for some reasons she had to change it. Her mother, an old librarian came up with “The Good thief”, whereby Tinti chose it as the title without even thinking.

The little Ren is a religious boy, who believes in God and who prays many times. That isn’t weird if you know that he was raised in a Catholic orphanage. He even tries to convert someone from being a killer to a good person. Hannah Tinti included many religious elements in her book, which I found really interesting to read. In an interview Tinti tells she was raised Catholic and her relationship with God was very close. She chose to use Saint Anthony in her story, because he was a good narrator like Benjamin. Furthermore he was a person who prayed for many lost things like Ren, who lost his hand.

An other very interesting and remarkable element in this book was the wishing stone. At the beginning of “The Good Thief” Ren finds a wishing stone, which he keeps until he leaves the orphanage. His only wish is that someone comes and takes him away from Saint Anthony’s. All the boys at the orphanage collect different kind of stones.  If someone leaves Anthony’s the boys, who are left, divide the stones of the leaver among themselves. Like the boys Tinti also collected wishing stones when she was young. She says she gave one away at every reading. Because she wanted to pass the good luck that has come her way.

All these elements together makes this book a very interesting read and gives the story it’s own hue. Hannah Tinti reflected elements about her life in this book, without losing the quality of the story. The story made me think about my family and the ones I love, whereby I realised I couldn’t live without them.I think that Hannah Tinti has succeeded in writing an amazing book, which is definitely worth reading.  

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