Friday, April 29, 2011

On Borrowing Things

Rebecca Makkai's novel The Borrower comes out in June of this year, and my opinion of this book can be summed up in two words: Buy it.

The tale of a highly intelligent librarian in her mid-twenties, who, though not exactly possessing the degrees requisite to do her job does it far more competently than anyone else there, "borrows" a ten-year-old boy. Technically, narrator Lucy Hull commits kidnapping that crosses several state lines for reasons that are somewhat idealistic.

I love, love, loved the narrator. She was witty, and based on the reactions of several other characters to her, very pretty, but completely misguided. As the reader, I felt as though Lucy could have or do whatever she wanted - but she didn't know what she wanted. & she didn't particularly care that she didn't know what she wanted, or that she wasn't entirely sure of what she was doing. As someone in her mid-twenties whose life goals seem to change somewhat everyday, and who, at times, wishes she was pretty, slutty, & enough of an actress to act stupid enough to become an object of infatuation for Hugh Hefner, I have to say - I could identify with many aspects of Miss Hull's life.

I also loved the young boy whom she took on an unplanned road trip. (Kidnapping is a somewhat harsh term to describe the situation that occupies the majority of the narrative of this book.) An adorable boy named Ian who is a voracious reader and seems inclined towards a sexuality different from heterosexuality, he is the child of two very strict parents who take him to weekly anti-gay classes with a man who claims to have formerly been homosexual and now saved.

It is interesting to see the narrative from the side of the villain - which is how Miss Hull describes herself in the beginning of the narrative. I particularly like that this is one villain you don't want to get caught. I didn't necessarily agree with everything she believed - I just didn't want her to get caught. At the end of the narrative, I wasn't sure that I even agreed with Miss Hull's assessment of herself as a villain.

All-in-all, an extremely entertaining & intelligent read that explores many aspects of the concept of "borrowing." Seriously, buy it. Here's a link so you can pre-order it now.

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