The Book Borrower A Novel Author:Alice Mattison On the first page of The Book Borrower, Toby Ruben and Deborah Laidlaw meet in a city playground where they are looking after their babies. Deborah lends Toby a book, Trolley Girl, a memoir about a 1920s trolley strike and three Jewish sisters, which will disappear and reappear throughout the twenty-two years these women are friends. Toby and ... more »Deborah raise children in the seventies while arguing over Patty Hearst and the meaning of life. They find work teaching inner-city day-care workers, a job that leads to conflict between them. Meanwhile, Toby reads the opening chapters of Trolley Girl with interest, but puts the book aside when its story turns tragic. Ten years later we find Toby and Deborah adjunct English instructors at a college. They are mothers of school-age children, stealing time to drink a beer, still deeply involved in their difficult friendship. The borrowed book has long since disappeared from Toby's consciousness. Another decade passes. Toby and Deborah spend a November afternoon hiking down a trail in the park. They never imagine that the outing will be their last together. In the final chapters of the novel, The Trolley Girl reemerges from Toby's dusty bookshelf and unexpectedly helps her come to terms with this agonizing loss.« less
This was quite an unusual book; the author has a style of writing which I did not always enjoy. However, the story was compelling and held my interest. The ending is surprising and leaves you having to decide for yourself where the truth lies...
This book is a book about a book....and so much more. I loved the building of the friendship between the two women,the ups and the downs of friendship and the life that gets in the way. I really enjoyed the honesty of this book.I encourage anyone to read it that has a friend they hold dear.
A novel inside a novel-- the contemporary story examines (pseudo-)friendship and betrayal, and was interesting enough; wasn't too enthralled with the historical back-story involving an anarchist and her sister.