The Thief of Always by Clive Barker and Other Stuff

I read The Thief of Always by Clive Barker for the read-a-thon and was super excited about reading it, mostly because I had read it as a young teen and fell in love with it. Now I go back to it as an adult and it’s lost some of it’s magic, but it’s still a fun read.  Funny how some books do that and sad at the same time that we lose some of that appreciation for certain books as we get older. I guess we just start to look for different things.

When I read this book as a young teen (I have even been 11 or 12), I remember thinking that it was the best book that was ever written. I also remember feeling accomplished at reading a “long book” though now it took me a total of 2 hours to read the whole thing :/ I remember being terrified by this story when I was a kid, but it’s not so terrifying now. I was kind of sad when I finished the book to be honest. It was still enjoyable, but it made me realize that we lose some of that sense of wonder as we grow older.

So let me tell you what the book’s about. It’s about a young boy named Harvey who is bored of his every day life and wants nothing more than to escape it. One night as he’s lying in bed, a creepy man by the name of Mr. Rictus comes to his window promising an adventure that will cure his boredom. He follows Mr. Rictus through a wall of mist and to a house that is seemingly every kid’s dream. There’s a lovely lady named Mrs. Griffin working in the kitchen to prepare everything that a little boy could want to eat. There are other children constantly having a good time. The four seasons pass through every day. You awake in Spring and go to sleep in the Winter. Halloween is every night, followed by a Thanksgiving dinner and then a Christmas morning where each child gets the exact gift that they want. Sounds perfect, right? Wrong. Harvey and his friend Wendell try to leave one day and find that they are turned around. The house will not let them leave. And for each day that they are at the house, a year is passing in their “real lives”. They begin to learn that they are being held captive by the mysterious Mr. Hood and their lives are literally being sucked away.

It really was a great book and I enjoyed reading it a second time. Just not as great as it was some 16 years ago :/ Has this happened with any of you? Have you read a book that you loved as a child and found that it didn’t hold the same magic the second time around? If you do have young kids, I would really recommend this one despite all of this. If your child was a fan of books like Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, I would think they’d like this one too.


I wanted to thank Bookfool for also agreeing to match my donation to NaNoWriMo from the 24 hour read-a-thon! Between her, Softdrink, and me we reaised $300 for them! Awesome! Bookfool has always supported NaNoWriMo and I think that’s awesome!


Y’all are going to think that I’m nuts, but has anyone else started thinking of Christmas yet? It just hit me today that it’s only about 2 months away! I need to start doing some shopping so I’m not stuck having to spend my whole paycheck on Christmas gifts the week before, lol. I’ve always loved buying Christmas gifts for people, it’s one of my favorite things….but it’s so hard to figure out the perfect gift for everyone! I think I’m going to do some Etsy shopping this year. Anyone have any favorite Etsy stores that they want to share??? I’d love to find some new ones! If you’re looking for Christmas cards this year, I highly highly suggest visiting Quixotic’s shop. She has some amazing cards that she handmakes and I’ll definitely be putting my order in soon.


10 Responses

  1. I agree, it really is sad when that happens! But still, it sounds like a pretty darn good book…I’m sure Annie will love it! And it sounds like a great one to read to the boys one of these days, too.

  2. This has happened to me so many times. I like re-reading good books, and often go back to visit childhood favorites. Sadly, many times I don’t find them at all as enjoyable as when I was young. A few times I’ve been so disappointed I didn’t ever want to pick it up again. I guess it just comes of getting older, being a more mature reader, having my tastes change…

  3. I know exactly what you mean and it is definitely sad. It’s almost like loosing a childhood dream. I loved the lion the witch and the wardrobe at 10, then I read it again at 24 and the magic was gone. I even found things to criticize!

    I’ve already started thinking about Christmas cause I love buying presents for people although I don’t like crowdy shops. I will buy mostly books, online cause they have to be in Italian. But I love your Etsy link! I think I might buy a lot from there! thanks for linking to it:D

  4. It always makes me sad when that happens too. I haven’t read this one in a long time, and I suspect I’d have a similar reaction to you. I think that the very best children’s stories are that ones you appreciate as much, if not more, as an adult, because for older readers they work on a whole other level. Coraline and The Graveyard Book are like that for me. Not that I ever read them as a child, but you know 😛

    I haven’t started thinking about Christmas yet, but I’ll have to soon! I can’t believe it’ll be November in less than two weeks.

  5. That is really a sad feeling when you reread an old favorite and discover it’s not as magical as it used to be.

    Nope, haven’t started thinking about Christmas. There really aren’t many people left to buy for. I think maybe I need to do the angel thing, this year. I hate not having many gifts to buy — just hate it.

    And, you’re welcome. I love Nano. We were going to take a trip in November, but it has been canned and I’m actually happy. I missed Nano, last year, and I couldn’t bear the thought of a second year without. 🙂

  6. I actually made out a list a few weeks ago of gifts that I am going to get for family. I was inspired with great ideas, and that happens so rarely, that I couldn’t help but jot them down. I won’t actually go shopping until the day after Thanksgiving though. My mother-in-law (who is super-cool) and I make a grand event of it.

    I haven’t had that happen with a book yet, but I do avoid reading some of the books that were really special to me just in case it ruins the magic. I did have it happen when I rewatched Xanadu as an adult – how disappointing.

  7. gift cards! there seems to be gift cards for every sort of store you can think of.. those work well for christmas!

  8. It is weird how some books lose a bit of magic when re-read as an adult but others seem to only grow in wonder when seen again through the eyes of an adult. To me it is always worth taking that risk just to see how books hold up over time.

    I’ve been thinking about Christmas lately as well, and about Lord of the Rings. This time of year all the things that I love seem to come over me in a rush and I have to really control myself and slow down so that I can enjoy the moment that I am in vs. rushing headlong into the next moment, if that makes any sense.

  9. Sad that it didn’t have the same magic for you, I find there are some films like that too. I do still adore Barker’s illustrations, though I agree with you about the slight sense of loss as an older reader. I remain hopeful that younger people will still find it wonderful though! It’s a great introduction to horror.

    I’d forgotten all about NaNoWriMo! And November’s really busy! Yikes. I might attempt it anyway, it’s great finger exercise!

  10. […] The Thief of Always by Clive Barker 2. Tamsin by Peter Beagle 3. The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint 4. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow […]

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