The Good Thief
This may have been one of the most difficult novels I have had to review, in that the negative aspects far outnumbered the positive ones.
We first acknowledge that the grammar and phraseology are impeccable. The story line, although at time arduous and convoluted, can still be followed.
The book is wrapped around the story of a young 17-18 year old lad, Sonny McClusky, as he navigates his way growing up in Portugal Cove, his ambitions, first loves, and his desire to make life better for the less fortunate in his small corner of the world. The novel follows him from being a well respected community member, high school student and better then average mechanic to becoming a convicted criminal.
However, this is where I first ran into serious issues. It seemed that the first 12 chapters are written as nothing more than a prologue for the main story line.
We have to learn about the McClusky’s counterfeiting history, Sonny’s father quirky philosophy that was to guide Sonny after the old man’s death, and the boy’s struggle to honour his dying father’s wishes. After this overly long introduction, we start learning more about Sonny’s friends and companions, their own lives and quirks and ambitions.
These interwoven sagas only serve to make the main story more complex without adding to the story. On a more positive note, the adult characters in the novel accurately portray the beliefs of the time.
There were the Fidel Castro admirers, those who hated the Americans and the Vietnam war, as well as the pro mutual defence movement.
I believe this book should have been written with a younger readership in mind. As a senior, I did not find myself identifying with any of the individuals portrayed, young or old. It would have been better aimed as a cautionary tale for teens.
In my opinion, this should be part of the curriculum for the senior high school life skills, the pitfalls and problems associated with greed and ambitions.
In as much as I have struggled to find more positive aspects of Leo Furey’s book, I simply could not agree with previous reviewers who were heaping praise on it. A bit of streamlining, editing and getting to the meat of the story without a 12 chapter preamble would have helped.
3 out of 5 stars.