Tag Archives: rebecca makkai

The Borrower (Rebecca Makkai) – Review

The borrower : a novelThe Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
Age: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Format: Audio CD
Publisher: Highbridge Audio, 2011
10.25 Hours, 8 Discs

Recent college graduate Lucy Halls works as a children’s library for a small town called Hannibal Missouri. Although she dislikes most things about her job, the one element of joy in her life is the spirited ten-year-old borrower, Ian Drake. He is the son of over religious and over-protective parents, and Lucy does her best to funnel books to Ian that his parents would most likely not approve of. One day, when Lucy finds Ian hiding in the library, having run away and spent the night in the building, the two set off on an adventure that takes them through state-lines, past the boundaries of librarian-borrower and changes their lives forever.

I can really only explain my review of this book in bullet points. I did not enjoy this book.

  • Lucy is a children’s librarian. I am a children’s librarian.
  • Lucy believes in the good of books and their abilities to change lives. I believe in books, and have seen them change lives.
  • Lucy is obnoxious, preachy, whiny and self indulgent.
  • Ian is likewise obnoxious, bratty, and very annoying.

That about sums up my feelings for this book. I found it to be much too preachy for my taste. I understand the value of books, but I felt it thumped over my head a million times through Lucy’s self-righteous rants. The only saving grace of this book was the narrator, who added a sympathy to Lucy that would have been lost in print.  

The entire book felt forced. Forced issues of censorship, forced issues of parental failures, forced issues of religious malfeasance. A forced story about a grown woman who can’t put her foot down and take accountability for her actions. It took me over a month to get through the audio book, mostly because I didn’t care to finish it. I didn’t care about the characters, or who Lucy hurt with her selfishness. I would have probably given up on the book. 

I hate to write a negative review like this. I was really excited for this book and the premise. I’m a librarian, this book should have been completely copacetic with me, but it wasn’t. It was too full of issues that should have been toned down.

Find this book at your local library
Book 40 of 2011
soundbytes picture