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The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

The Borrower

by Rebecca Makkai

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,11611012,271 (3.42)1 / 55
Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?… (more)



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English (101)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  French (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
July 29th:
One hundred million, million stars. Brb, I need to go cry a little.....

July 30th:
After being so incredibly touched by this amazing novel yesterday, and not being able to think of anything else all afternoon, I made some decisions. I had listened to this novel in audiobook form, and the narrator is a JEWEL, no shit. Emily Bauer. She was snarky when needed, she sang beautifully, both in adult and child voices, she sounded a little like Bart Simpson on occasion while doing the child Ian's voice, and her main character's voice literally made me see Anna Kendrick, the whole time. Not that I thought this young girl sounded like Kendrick at all; it was her charming, gentle, wholesome naïveté that had me picturing the actress Kendrick. Seriously, the audiobook narration is THE MAIN REASON you should hurry right out to your local library, or library website (wilbor/bridges), and borrow this novel NOW.
But because this novel by Makkai is SO beautifully done, I couldn't stand to be away from the characters for one more minute. I immediately went back to my library and checked out the ebook of The Borrowers, and spent all day today rereading it, while listening alternatively to my favorite parts. I'm done now, and I STILL wish I was part of this story, SOME how.....! And it's been years since a novel has made me feel this way.
Makkai is a genius. 'Nuff said. I have bullied my oldest son into buying this ebook and begin reading it immediately, on pain of grounding - and he's 28, by the way. (He bought the book, but then scoffed at me. Stay tuned for more on this). Tomorrow, as soon as we are paid, I am spending some hard earned money on BOTH the ebook, AND the audio-narration, just so I can keep my new, BEST friends near me. Oh, how I wish I were you, so I could have the treat of reading this novel for the first time...!
And then, I'm buying Makkai's other two books. And if I can figure out where she lives, I'm going to start driving by her house really slow, and seeing if she's home. Not to stalk her, mind you; I need to crochet her something. And leave her gifts on her doorstep. Flowers, and the like.

5 hundred thousand million stars. Not even kidding. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
I made it to about page 130, and decided to just hang it up. I truly couldn’t care less about these people, so why waste more time with them? I have to give Makki credit for getting in lots of great literary allusions, that was the best part of the book, but the writing seemed choppy, and the story forced. She tries to justify Lucy’s actions in being complicit with aiding in the runaway of Ian, a 10-year old patron of her library, but it really doesn’t ring true. Honestly, I could have overlooked this, but the writing style and characters both annoyed me.

I was hoping for a well-written novel with quirky, well-drawn characters, instead I got a Wannabe well-written quirky novel.
( )
  tshrope | Jan 13, 2020 |
A ten year old boy kidnaps his librarian and they drive from Hannibal Mo to northern Vermont. Told realistically from the librarian’s point of view when it needed more magical realism to avoid the obvious decisions. The middle section was squirm inducing in its sequence of feloniously bad choices. ( )
  jscape2000 | Mar 27, 2019 |
It was well written and went by quickly, bibliophiles and library lovers will really like this book. I couldn't identify with any of the protagonists in the book (not the author's problem!), hence the 3 stars based on my enjoyment. ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
I loved that this truly served as a tribute to my favorite children's books, many of which involved children hitting the road, escaping parents who were disconnected, or cruel, or who simply didn't understand them. The kids on their own trope, whether in the Mixed up Files or Harry Potter or the many other books that employed it is magical. Less magical is the kid with an adult accomplice spiriting him around in order to try to outrun her own discontent and alleviate her ridiculous boredom. (Do something you lazy sow! You have money, looks, autonomy and an education, your boredom is entirely your own fault.) Less magical is the journey that involves not security guards or demons, but rather Russian gangsters and creepy pseudo-relatives. Also less charming is Ian, the child at the center of the story, who makes Lucy "kidnap" him. Ian is like no child ever. As I read I wondered in Makkai had ever met an actual child. Also I wondered whether she has met an actual fundamentalist Christian. I am going to guess the answer to both questions is no.

Still, the aforementioned references to wonderful children's books, and the great characters around Lucy (her father and uncle particularly) made most of this a fun little fantasy read. I love books that are about loving books. ( )
1 vote Narshkite | Feb 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
The novel bogs down for a long time in the middle with an excess of plot, but the moving final chapters affirm the power of books to change people’s lives even as they acknowledge the unbreakable bonds of home and family.

Smart, literate and refreshingly unsentimental.
In her bracingly tough-minded tale of a discontented librarian who hits the road with a maladjusted 10-year-old, Rebecca Makkai tips her hat to a shelf-load of children's literature, offering sly echoes of everything from "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White to "Where's Spot?" By Eric Hill, while crafting her own distinctive sound in a first novel definitely not for kids. Makkai avoids almost all the pitfalls of debut fiction, including sentimentality and undigested autobiography, and though her plotting isn't as deft as her characterizations, the wonderfully nuanced closing pages more than make up for the occasional longueurs that precede them....Yet every conflicted word Lucy utters in Makkai's probing novel reminds us that literature matters because it helps us discover ourselves while exploring the worlds of others.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rebecca Makkaiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Homedes Beutnagel, JofreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Homedes, JofreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I might be the villain of this story. Even now, it's hard to tell.
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A librarian / kidnapped a little boy and / then sent him back home (_debbie_)
Ran from religion / Hiding out with the Russians / Reading can save you (_debbie_)

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Average: (3.42)
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