Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Borrower (copy)

First off, Happy National Library Week, and I hope you rush to your nearest branch to see what all the great local librarians have in store for you. We have been sweetening the students with donuts and orange juice, stimulating their minds with a full library scavenger hunt, and throwing a weeding party for the art department.

Busy, busy…but I made time to read the perfect book for this week’s celebration. The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai, contains a main character who is a children’s librarian in the moderately sized town of Hannibal, Missouri. Lucy Hull, all of 26-years-old, is a college educated single chick doing her best to make ends meet without help from her parents.

Lucy is a hipster librarian. She lives above an active community theatre and is unable to make noise or even flush the toilet between the hours of 6 pm to 10pm. This affords her all the time in the world to read. I got a kick out of her tendency to “name drop” children’s book titles and authors throughout the story.

The public library in Hannibal is similar to the thousands of libraries in our nation. Readers come in all sizes and abilities. In Lucy’s seven years of hard library labor she has made quite a lot of reading friends, but her favorite is 10-year-old Ian Drake.

Young Ian is a reader of everything, but unfortunately his mother limits his taste with a little Christian censorship. He is not to be given books with witchcraft, wizards, magic, Satanism, adult content, weaponry, evolution, Halloween, nor “Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, Harry Potter, and similar authors.” She hasn’t a clue that Harry Potter is a character and not an author.

A bond grows between Lucy, the supplier of illicit books on the list, and Ian, the voracious reader who sneaks them under his shirt while checking out approved “decoy” books. It truly is a symbiotic relationship that goes awry when Ian runs away from home and into the back of the children’s book stacks.

In a confused moment of wanting to help Ian but knowing he needs his family, she sets him up in the back of her car to transport him to his parents. Tantrums are thrown and she keeps driving her beat up, baby-blue Toyota until she crosses a bridge into St. Louis.

How will they ever get out of this mess? Rush to find this book at your local library and thank a haggard librarian for feeding your own reading addiction.

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