To Go: 78
21. Water For Elephants — Sara Gruen
22. The Borrowers — Mary Norton
Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, the final children’s lit novel, is all finished and ready to be analyzed for the final tomorrow. (Oh my God, exams are tomorrow; this is crazy!) And now I get to review it.
In The Borrowers, Mrs. May, our narrator, tells Kate, her young charge, of the “borrowers,” Pod, Homily, and Arrietty Clock, a family of three that her younger brother came to know when he was ten years old and staying in his great aunt Sophy’s house. Arrietty, discontent with being kept in her family’s little house under the kitchen, insists that her father takes her with him on one of his borrowing trips upstairs, where she meets “the boy.” He and Arrietty forge a friendship that at first proves beneficial for the pint-sized family, but ultimately causes them to “emigrate” – or so we’re left to assume.
Out of all the children’s novels I’ve read this semester, The Borrowers has been the “toughest” read, but probably the best (barring Harry Potter, of course). The narration wasn’t overbearing and irritatingly didactic, nor was the main character, Arrietty, an overly caricatured version of children her age, as I’ve come to expect from novels directed to younger audiences. In that sense, it was a pleasant read.
I did find Homily, Arrietty’s mother, to be particularly grating though. There was never a happy moment for that woman unless she was acquiring new things for her tiny little home – whether it be trinkets from Aunt Sophy’s drawing room, or pretty dollhouse furniture from the attic, Homily was in her element when she was decorating (and redecorating) her modest home. If she wasn’t able to do that, she’d either be nagging her daughter (quite shrilly, I might add), or complaining about how she and Pod used to be rich before Arrietty was born. Homily was almost a little stereotypical of how Victorian women were portrayed (I’m under the impression that The Borrowers took place in this time period, anyway, so it’s not hard to make that leap in logic).
Regardless, I liked it. It’s a good, quick read, even for older audiences. It just wasn’t spectacular.
Next book: The Time Traveler’s Wife — Audrey Niffeneger