It is not only because I was a school librarian that I enjoyed The Borrower. It is because Ian is the child that we root for when we’re not ripping out our hair, Lucy Hull, the twenty-six year old children’s librarian, is a spunky, unconventional, self-questioning narrator who occasionally relates her tale in the rhythms of children’s classics, and how often have we wished we could run away for one reason or another? Yes, if you pull for the good guys and mutter curses at the bad ones, you will like this novel because it’s not entirely clear who the good guys and the bad guys are. A little far fetched perhaps, and plaguing because we are forced to ask ourselves the proverbial question, “If we were behind Lucy’s desk, would our journey have been the same?”
Indie Next ListJune 2011
A 26-year-old children's librarian, Lucy Hull, allows herself to be 'kidnapped' by one of her precocious 10-year-old patrons, a boy intent on running away from home. The pair end up on a hilarious road trip that ping-pongs them across the Midwest and out to the East Coast. Makkai's writing is sharp and funny, and book lovers will enjoy the many references to well-known titles, from echoes of the road trip in Lolita to a chapter that is structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. What a wonderful, assured, and original debut! -- Shuchi Saraswat, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA
In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, 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 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?
About the Author
Rebecca Makkai’s stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2009, and 2010, and have appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. Makkai teaches elementary school and lives north of Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
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