“The Good Thief” Book Review

Sophia Paiste, Writer

One Book One School is a concept that gets the whole school reading one book over summer vacation every year.

The story selected this year was
The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti. Throughout the novel, readers follow a young boy named Ren, a child who is missing a hand and has spent his whole life in an orphanage. Things started to look up for Ren when a young man named Benjamin, who claimed to be his “brother,” picked him up from the orphanage. The night after they left, Benjamin exposed himself for being a fraud and showed his gun to Ren. Benjamin offered Ren a chance to walk away and leave Benjamin, however Ren denied his offer; Ren didn’t want to be alone and certainly didn’t want to go back to the orphanage. After meeting Ren, Benjamin and his thieving partner Tom decided to keep Ren, believing he was useful from a financial perspective. Throughout the whole book, Ren is primarily being shown examples of bad behavior. Even so, he continuously attempts to treat everyone he comes by with kindness and respect. His charismatic aptitude aids him as he meets and forms bonds with new characters. Ren befriends several people including a giant and a girl named Jenny. The main idea that the book shows is that in a world of bad it’s your duty to be good, which Ren displayed when he helped several characters discover their self-worth and remained the same decent person he was from the beginning of the book, hence the title, The Good Thief.   

Though this was a heartwarming story, I didn’t find it very entertaining. It started off very slow pace and didn’t get very interesting until page 150 or so. From my point of view, this book was unfavorable. This book displayed a different kind of writing not often seen when I was in middle school. The text was laid out in a more mature way; it was slightly more difficult to decipher the meaning of each part of The Good Thief, and I think that is why so many people including myself disliked this choice of book. Many other students also shared my opinion, with a few exceptions. While the majority of freshman had opinions such as “character development was weak,” as well as “badly written” and “boring,” many upperclassmen decided that the book was “surprising” in a positive sense or “it wasn’t the worst,” implying that worse books have been selected for summer reading in the past.