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Extended Audio Sample The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,109 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rebecca Makkai Narrator: Emily Bauer Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, is unsure where her life is headed. That becomes more than a figure of speech when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home and Lucy finds herself in the surprise role of chauffeur.

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.

The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and dubious family history thrown in their path. But who is actually running away? And from what?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An appealing, nonromantic love story about an unexpected pairing—and a surprisingly moving one.”

    New York Times

  • “In the hilariously off-kilter world Makkai creates, it makes perfect sense that 26-year-old children’s librarian Lucy Hull and her favorite reading-obsessed patron, 10-year-old Ian Drake, should ‘kidnap’ each other and take a loopy road trip. Clever riffs on classic kid lit pepper the sparkling prose, making this first novel a captivating read.”

    Parade Magazine

  • “A lively, lovely read that delicately weaves together social activism, literary culture, and the quintessential road trip motif into a single solid adventure tale…Reading The Borrower is like taking a blissfully nostalgic journey into the bookshelves of American childhood.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Poignant…Every conflicted word Lucy utters in Makkai’s probing novel reminds us that literature matters because it helps us discover ourselves while exploring the worlds of others.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “This comical and touching book strikes a nice balance between literary artistry and gripping storytelling and offers a contemporary take on the classic ‘journey of discovery’…Right up to the book’s satisfying and well-plotted ending, Makkai shows us that even though the stories we are told as children are often fount to betray us as mere fantasy, there might still be some wisdom in the one of their most common and simple morals: Be true to yourself.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Makkai is clearly a lover of the public book-lending institution. Her careful, attentive approach seamlessly weaves literary lore into her unusual and touching story of a librarian fighting for social liberty and freedom of expression.”

    Washington Post

  • “A splendid first novel that cleverly weaves telling references to children’s books into her whimsically patchwork plot. Larger-than-life characters and an element of the picaresque add to the delights.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “How could any [one] of any age resist Rebecca Makkai’s charming The Borrower?”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Smart, literate, and refreshingly unsentimental.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Selected for the June 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Barbara Higgins | 2/15/2014

    " I just didn't like this book. I appreciated Makkai's writing (hence 2 stars instead of 1), and I got the humorous improbability of the situation. However, I just found the the circumstances of a 26-year-old librarian going on a road trip with a 10-year-old boy without his parents' knowledge unsettling. I was also put off by the preachiness--I'm fine with a novelist's expressing a particular point of view, but I prefer a little subtlety. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Martie Nees Record | 2/12/2014

    " Simultaneously sweet, sad and uproariously funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by The Styling Librarian | 2/7/2014

    " I enjoyed the witty characters and the connections to kid lit. Reminded me a little of a John Green novel with the road trip adventure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jane Wolfe | 1/29/2014

    " This is a quirky story with many references to children's literature and contemporary politics. The word play is clever and funny. I thought the road trip unrealistic as well as slightly tedious toward the end of the book. However, the author's point about the perilous path for a young boy who is a homosexual is touching and well made. The novel is yet another comment on the power of story and books. "

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