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The Borrower: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai
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The Borrower: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Rebecca Makkai

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7698312,029 (3.49)1 / 38
Member:TravellinPenguin
Title:The Borrower: A Novel
Authors:Rebecca Makkai
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Have read this book
Rating:***
Tags:A Library Book Read

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The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

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English (77)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  French (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Well. I kind if wanted to give this one 3.5 stars because in the end I was okay with it, despite reading almost the whole thing with a bit of dread in the pit of my stomach. While I agree with the librarian's opinions, I feel her instincts were all wrong, and I am a librarian and a parent. So although the characters are relatable, I couldn't quite enjoy this story. I don't think I ever quite understood the story of her father, like maybe I dozed off during a crucial point in the story, and missed something. But I suppose it fed into the savior/redemption theme that kind of ties it together in the end. I will say this for the story though: I wondered the whole time how it would end because it seemed like there was no possible way it could end well, but I think it did, and with only a modicum of deus ex machina. ( )
1 vote karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
Wonderful book about a librarian and a young male patron of the library who is experiencing difficulties with his parents. Both of these characters are so lovable, I just want to meet them! I particularly like that the librarian, although quite young, had a certain nostalgia for the pre-computer method of checking out books. Right on that card was a history of who had read that book! It reminded me of my volunteer days in the school library, when I could see who had read a particular book for years in the past. As I was reading this book, I could not think of a possible good ending, but the author surprised me. The ending was wonderful and the book left me smiling! ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
The premise of the book is a little odd. A children’s librarian takes off on a road trip with Ian, a runaway ten year old library patron. It is a lovely book about the power of books and magic that libraries can hold in childhood. Ian is one of the most lovable characters I have encountered in quite a while. I love his curiosity and clever questions. What a fun little kid to have around. It makes me want to delve into the world of children's literature again and rediscover some of the magic of children's books.

Thanks for the recommendation Kim.
( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
I really tried to love this, but in the end only found myself liking it.

I love books about books, and so this one caught my eye when I was perusing books at the latest book festival. The owner recommended this book (of course!) for its sad yet heartwarming story about a kind-of-kidnapper librarian. The premise sounded good, so I took a chance.

I really did love the characters. You have the little boy, Ian Drake, who acts more like a childish adult at times. I questioned his motivation for the series of events that happened throughout the story, and by the end you are left making assumptions about his motivations. Likewise, our classy librarian, Lucy Hall, is the unwitting kidnapper of Ian as they take a not so fantastical road trip throughout the north-east United States. I think I understood her motivation a little bit more, but only because of the endless "should-I-or-shouldn't-I?" decision making that takes place pretty much until the last page of the book. Um…I believe that it's possible for her to have made at least just a few more positive decisions. Just saying.

Honestly, the story dragged on a little bit longer than I would have liked. I was stuck on this car ride up until the very end. Just when I thought things would get interesting, we are thrown into another bad decision made by the protagonist. Seriously?

Simple twists and turns for an easy read. If you're looking for more complex plot development, however, look somewhere else. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
Beautiful, provocative, tragic, and fun. Almost perfect. My only quibbles are that the librarian could have made a difference in the child's life without the drama (but then she wouldn't have made her own personal journey of growth), and that the other librarians were caricatures and not believable. Highly recommended if you can manage a bit of suspension of disbelief. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (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.
 
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I might be the villain of this story. Even now, it's hard to tell.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road.

Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both 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 anti-gay classes.

Lucy, a rebel at heart beneath her librarian’s exterior, 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 the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on an improvised road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets and an inconvenient boyfriend thrown in their path. Along the way, Lucy struggles to make peace with her Russian immigrant father and his fugitive past, and is forced to use his shady connections to escape discovery. [the author]
Haiku summary
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_)

No descriptions found.

(see all 3 descriptions)

When her favorite patron, a book-loving ten-year-old, runs away from overbearing parents who force him to attend anti-gay classes with a celebrity pastor, children's librarian Lucy Hull flees with the boy and discovers that they are being pursued by an anonymous adversary.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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