Jim's Reviews > The Borrower

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
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Jul 08, 2011

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Coming from a town the size of a wheat penny, books and the library were my own out, my escape, my salvation from what I perceived as the smallness of where I lived. Books grew my imagination with ideas until I felt I might burst through the town limit signs. So I am a little biased toward a book in which an intelligent, maybe too sharp for his own good, little boy is kidnapped by the children's librarian from the public library. The kid, Ian, is saddled with parents who enroll him in De-Gaying classes and forbid books that don't have "the breath of God" in them. Harry Potter and anything by Lois Lowry are particular no-nos. The librarian slips Ian books and booklists and eventual "borrows" him for an extended road trip to rescue him from his situation and misery. The kidnapper and the kidnapped both learn something about themselves and the world along the way, "I believe that books might save Ian because I knew they had so far, and because I knew the people books had saved. They were college professors and actors and scientists and poets. Their names were enshrined on the pink cards in the pockets of all the forgotten hardbacks in every library basement in America." The writing in the final chapters is wonderfully poetic and heart warming.
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