The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
Lucy has a quiet, predictable life as a child librarian in the small American town of Hannibal, Missouri. She lives on her own above a small theatre and suffers from what she calls “deep Russian guilt” from her father and “mile thick American Jewish guilt” from her mother.
One of the highlights of her working day and possibly her life, is a young visitor to the library called Ian. He as good as lives at the library and he’ll spend hours every day reading a perusing the shelves. Lucy loves that he’s so passionate about reading but one day the boy’s mother comes in with a list of subjects she deems ungodly and insists her son no longer reads anything on wizards or witches or anything written by Roald Dahl. Lucy just about manages to keep her cool but vows to ignore her wishes. That in itself just makes her feel sorry for Ian having such an overbearing parent but later, when she discovers Ian is being sent to religious classes to ‘straighten out’ potentially homosexual children, she is utterly fortified. She opens up the library one morning to find Ian hiding inside, he’s camped out all night and run away from home. Is this the sign she was waiting for, to prove he needs saving? As she drives him home, he gives her the wrong address, then asks to be taken to his grandmothers. She’s fully aware he doesn’t have a grandmother but plays along as she tries to decide what’s best for the boy she so desperately wants to help. The simplest answer? Just keep driving.
The Borrower is a beautifully sentimental story of one woman trying to do the right thing. Trying to get by without her parent’s money or their job contacts and coming to terms with a friends suicide. When she sees her chance to save Ian, she also sees an opportunity to change and save herself. Although the novel is quite slowly paced, there is something so touching about the characters that it just draws you in and really stays with you. I think this book will especially to appeal to true book lovers. The last couple of chapters define the love of novels in such an articulate and passionate way that it leaves you completely moved. If you’re like me and believe that books can really save a life, you will love this!
Buy The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai