Review: The Borrower

So, remember a few posts back where I was exclaiming that you must absolutely read this? Well, please ignore that because unfortunately, sigh, what started out with such brilliance and promise quickly flatlined and resulted in a frustrating, boring and annoying tale that was dragged on for far too many chapters. By the middle to the end, I was screaming in agony for this to end. I continued to torture myself because, hey, I had just given high praise for it – maybe it improves? Sadly, no.

Lucy Hull is a children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, a job she kind of landed because of her alumni contacts – no experience needed, just please come in and fill this position. Her very favourite patron is Ian, a 10-year-old boy that is causing much concern because of his apparent “gayness”. His mother is the “villain” as she gives Lucy an enormous list of what NOT to read, all the while choosing a library as the place to dump her child for free babysitting needs. Lucy is there to champion the right to read and enlarge your imagination. In the beginning we see Lucy’s father, a Russian immigrant, with marvelous and amusing commentary about the American governments Patriot Act and the fate of librarians everywhere, how America is founded by runaways, how no one seems to be happy with their career choices, this sense that everyone is always looking for something better.

At any rate, sigh, it had such tremendous promise in the beginning 7 or 8 chapters but then unfortunately went on and on and on and on for an additional 35+ chapters. I was so deeply in love with the beginning of this book – made me smile, oh how it made me smile and chuckle, and then Lucy takes Ian from the library, where he’s found camping out and the rest makes for one frustratingly loooong painful journey where you realize that Lucy is no heroine, just this ridiculous and whiny individual that allows a confused 10-year-old boy to make the decisions. I found myself screaming at her ridiculousness and to just take the friggen boy home! It was one asthma attack after another and she STILL leaves the decision of where to go next – including the Canadian border – up to Ian.

I first resisted this book because I thought I would be a little creeped out that the story is about this woman that takes a boy and they disappear for about 2 weeks. But as I said, in the beginning it was very amusing, well constructed and I thought I would be wrong. But no…right up until the very end I was completely frustrated and weirded out that this 26-year-old girl having an identity crisis makes off with a confused little boy that she’s convinced herself she’s saving. And she lets it go on and on and on and on. NOTHING in their travels is of interest at all. Just a lot of hand-wringing on Lucy’s part and whining about who she is, what will happen to her next.

AND…she gets away with it! – plops the kid on the Greyhound bus in the end and continues her disappearing act while she very whiningly tries to figure out who she is and what she’s doing. Even in the end she continues to believe that she is “saving” Ian, and what may be thought of as kind of neat and going along with the beginning premise of the book, (she secretly gives him a reading list for the rest of his years) is actually still incredibly creepy since she can’t leave this 10-year-old boy alone.

I did like Lucy’s Russian father though. Good stuff there, but as to trying to sync the Russian life of torment and running away with Lucy’s current American life – falls seriously and utterly flat.

The book finally, finally came to an end and I no longer had to scream at Lucy for being such a stupid moron anymore. And I am so happy about that. So in the beginning where I shout from the rooftops – you must read this! Please ignore. Save yourself. It is so not worth it.

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