THE BORROWER by Rebecca Makkai (Viking, June 2011) is an adult book (yes, I do sneak in a couple of these from time to time) about a children's librarian named Lucy who hits the road with a child named Ian. Ian is not her child. He is one of the faithful patrons of the children's department of the Hannibal. Missouri, library. Lucy suspects that Ian is being abused: not physically, but he is being subjected to some brainwashing on the part of his parents. He is not permitted to read books with magic and magical beings. Ian has also been sent to a religious program because his parents fear he might be gay. So, when Lucy arrives early one morning to open up the library, she finds Ian hiding. Ian insists that Lucy take him away ostensibly to head to see distant relatives. Lucy faces a real dilemma here: should she "kidnap" Ian or return him to a situation she thinks is abusive? <234>
Smart references to books (mostly children's titles), sharp crisp writing, clearly delineated characters, and the odd road trip all combine to make this an absorbing read. Chapter 8, entitled EXHIBIT D: THE COTS OR IF YOU GIVE A LIBRARIAN A CLOSET will be one to make all lovers of the Laura Numeroff books chuckle if not guffaw.