I am feeling empty and rather purposeless this morning. I finished reading Hannah Tinti's amazing novel The Good Thief last night, and now I don't have it to look forward to as I did the last few nights. It was the best adventure I've been on since I don't know when. The Good Thief tells the story of Ren, a scrappy twelve year old orphan missing his left hand. He is plucked from the St. Anthony's orphanage by Benjamin Nab, a charming, clever con man, horse thief, grave robber, and friend. Ren accompanies Benjamin and Tom, his alcoholic partner in crime, on a furiously paced series of adventures through New England farms, whaling villages, and factory towns. This plot driven novel introduces Ren and the readers to a cast of colorful characters including, but not limited to, a roof dwelling dwarf, a gigantic hit man, a crazed bosslike mousetrap factory owner, and a deaf landlady. Each night this week, I've put off reading The Good Thief until my kids were asleep so I could savor it uninterrupted, and I had to force myself to put it down each night. Ren's adventures, frightening and thrilling, make this page turner an exciting read, but Ren's desire for a family and efforts to create one make it a tender read as well.
There is a high school English department head somewhere who's very lucky I am currently a stay at home mom. Otherwise, he or she would be spending the next few weeks being pestered to purchase a class set of The Good Thief immediately. I'm already looking forward to giving it to my own children when they are teenagers.