Book Recommendation: The Thief of Always

Every night we read as a family. Lindsay is the designated reader, we all gather on our large king sized bed, and snuggle in to listen. We adults pick books that we loved as children and that may be a little beyond the children’s reading level, or even slightly out of their comprehension level. Our goal is to help them love reading, by sharing with them the stories that made us love reading. This family reading routine gives us an opportunity to decompress the day and just enjoy something together. One of the books we read this past summer was “The Thief of Always” by Clive Barker.


The book begins by telling the story of a 10 year old boy, Harvey Swick, who is in the depths of boredom. It’s February, and poor Harvey doesn’t want to go to school or really do anything for that matter, until a curious man in black named Rictus flies through Harvey’s window, promising him fun and friends beyond his wildest dreams. The following day, Rictus, with his wide sharp toothed grin, leads Harvey to a holiday house where all the magic begins. It is everything Rictus promised.

While at the holiday house, Harvey experiences spring, summer, autumn, and winter each and every day. Spring flowers in the morning, summer in the afternoon, Halloween in the evening, and winter carrying on in to the night, with Christmas and Thanksgiving before bed. Everything he could ever dream up was gifted to him, every meal he desired was prepared for him, and every wish he made was granted. Like most things that seem too good to be true, the holiday house was certainly that. Mr. Hood, who is a main character that we don’t get to meet until three quarters of the way in the book, runs the house and seems to have a tight grip on everything and everyone who occupies it. Once Harvey can see past all the magic, he discovers what the house is really made of… and it’s not pretty.

What did it matter, anyway, he thought, whether this was a real place or a dream? It felt real, and that was all that mattered. 
― Clive Barker, The Thief of Always 

This dark fable inspires you to think about what you wish for, and if you really want that wish to come true. And at what cost. It is a book about adventure, friends, time, and personal strength. It is about the childhood that many take for granted, only to find that it passes by far too quickly and can never be gotten back. In “The Thief of Always” though, anything is possible, and once Harvey discovers what is really happening, he is prepared to get his boring old life back. yathiefsm

We all loved this book, and the children never wanted to stop reading. It held everyone’s interest, and the drawings throughout the book were a nice touch. It was a good level of scary for the kids, and I would definitely recommend it as a book for children and adults.