The Borrower

 From Good Reads: 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?

I absolutely love this kind of book, the kind of book that seems like it was going to be one kind of book…a kind of book that sounds like it’ll be a worthwhile read but not one to get terribly excited about. A story that you can read a few pages, enjoy it, but can just as easily put it down to find something else to do.

Instead, The Borrower turned out to be one of my favorite reads of this year. It was not because it was it was a ground breaking book (in fact, if you read the reviews on Good Reads, you’ll be that readers either loved the book or absolutely hated it). I have to aggree with some of the dissenters of this book in fact. It was transparent that it was tilted towards the left wing and very anti Bush administration. Lucy was NOT a likable character in a lot of ways. She was directionless, easily manipulated by other people and she seemingly suffered no repurcussions of her crime what so ever.

But despite this, or maybe because of it, I could not get enough of this book. I loved the rebelliousness of Ian wanting to seek knowledge away from the very narrow existence that was his home life. I liked how Lucy did her best to protect and aid Ian, even when it was the worst decision ever.

Of course I did find faults in this book. I found it a little discouraging that almost all of the female characters (okay, all if you include Lucy) were kind of villains, or barely worth mentioning. You had women who were inept (Lucy’s coworker), her alcoholic boss, Ian’s mother (Cruella DeVille worthy, minus the dog fur coat) and Lucy’s Mom who barely had a role. Instead, all of the worthy, the interesting and good characters were all men or boys. Ian, who I wanted to adopt. Rocky, another one of Lucy’s coworkers who seemed like a rock star although Lucy doesn’t see past his handicap, and Lucy’s father and business associate who are true villains in all intents and purposes but who had the most interesting stories and back stories.

So yes, a lot of flaws in this book but I still loved every moment of it. I think those are the best books. The ones that you don’t agree with, that you spend the entire book shaking your head because of the true idiotic nature of the protagonist…yet at the same time, are able to make the conscious decision to put criticism aside and just enjoy the story for what it is. A true adventure.


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