“Dec hasn’t seen his mother for six years. His memories of her lie shrouded in dust, preserved in their old family home which now stands empty. Dec senses that his father is harbouring a secret, but he can’t prove anything. Then he makes a horrific discovery, and suddenly the house is alive with ghosts of the past. Could Dec now learn the elusive truth about his family?”
For the longest time, I was on the fence on whether I should buy and read A Thief in the House of Memory. I highly enjoyed Tim Wynne-Jones’ The Survival Game, so I thought I’d enjoy this one too. And you can hear the “but…” a mile away.
Reading the back cover, I was expecting mystery and intrigue. And I did get them, in a way, but A Thief in the House of Memory is more family drama than mystery or intrigue. It’s just one boy’s way of coping with being abandoned by a mother he thought loved him very much, while being cared for by a father who is afraid to get too close with another person again–even if that person was his son. Ooh, runaway sentence. Which kind of fits, since I’m reacting to a story about a runaway mom.
Yes, I did feel a little let down. This, by no means, means the book is hack. It’s very well-written, and I love how the author explores the issue of abandonment through our main character Dec. I was just disappointed because I was expecting more mystery and more intrigue. I think if the synopsis had been better written, and wasn’t so misleading, I would’ve enjoyed the book more.
Which brings me to a complaint about book synopses in general. Who writes them? Who approves them? Because I’ve read too many wonderful books that were referred–but I wouldn’t have touched had I based on the synopsis alone. And A Thief in the House of Memory is hardly the first book I’ve been disappointed with because the synopsis lead me to expect a different story than what was given. And let’s not forget the Journey to the Center of the Earth book that used a different set of names, from the ones used within the novel.
I wish publishers would pay more attention to the book synopses.
And since my reaction to A Thief in the House of Memory got hijacked by my gripes about synopses, here are a few online reviews I found about the book:
A Series of (Un)Fortunate Reviews
Quill and Quire