Patti from Charlotte's Reviews > The Book Borrower

The Book Borrower by Alice Mattison
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's review
Jul 26, 2011

Though one of the most difficult books that I'd ever read (in fact, I had to remind myself of my own 'Give it a chance!' rule repeatedly as I plodded through its first few pages), I am glad to have conquered and, ultimately, enjoyed "The Book Borrower." Told by Toby Ruben from the days of her young motherhood to her later middle aged years, "Borrower" not only focuses poignantly on her deep friendship with Deborah Limpkin and her family, but on the lives of a curious group of others from an eccentric artist/anarchist to the adult students in her classroom as well. Throughout the book, and greatly contributing both to its confusing plot and significant meaning, is the sub-plot of the story "Trolley Girl," the book that Ruben borrowed at the first of the tale. Or, I had to wonder, is "The Book Borrower" the subplot of "Trolley Girl?" At any rate, as Ruben noted late in the book, "A book one has read is different from a book one has not read." As oddly written as this novel was, I am glad that I stuck with it to enjoy Alice Mattison's superbly crafted views of family, friendship, and all of the degres of complicated relationships in between.

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