Friday, August 31, 2012

Bizarro Book Club: The Borrowers


Bizarro Book Club is Back!

(this happens every two months, click here for last time)
Here are the logistics...
  • We came up with a set of questions that will allow us to discuss the book without really giving anything away for those of you who haven't read it.
  • We  both answer each question.  We've written our answers beforehand so as not to be influenced by the other person's ideas.
  • We do have a chance for rebuttal or additonal commentary after we've read what the other person wrote. 
  • If you've read the book and you want to weigh in with your own answers, reactions to ours, etc. we'd love that! 
Are you still there?  Great!  The Book is called The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  Away we go....





#1- IF TWO BOOKS HAD A BABY AND THE RESULT WAS THIS BOOK, WHO WOULD IT'S PARENTS BE?

Whit: This is a totally random combination, but I think I'm gonna say The Secret Garden and Stuart Little-- can you see that?

Robyn: I can totally see that!  I had a really hard time coming up with an answer to this one.  I decided Charles Dickens Great Expectations hooked up with The Indian in the Cupboard… I don’t know, that’s probably way off.  Here’s my thinking, there’s lots of proper Englishness but there’s  also the fantasy of little people mixed into the story in the most English of ways.  Isn’t that so very British for the little people to be not magical at all… just a smaller version of the big British people? 

Whit: Yes, the properness, that was Secret Garden for me (plus it has sickness and hiding stuff from grown ups), Indian in the Cupboard fits much better than Stuart Little though-- nice pick!

#2- ARE THERE BORROWERS LIVING IN YOUR HOUSE?  WHAT ITEMS ARE ALWAYS MISSING WHEN YOU GO LOOKING FOR THEM? 

Whit: Hmmm, bobby pins which I am sure are a borrower's dream tool. Oh and we never have pens around, ever, I swear we just bought two packages of pens and I think I know where ONE is.... 12 pens and I can only find one.  There are definitely borrowers living in my house--2 big ones, a 4 year old and and a 2 year old.

Robyn: I forgot about bobby pins!  You're right, bobby pins would be awesome tools for a borrower, HA!  Well, they say borrowers don’t like to live in unorganized (messy) houses.  So the chance that I have any living here is very slim.  But the fact that I’m a huge mess aside… I’m always searching for sewing needles, matching socks and rolls of scotch tape.  So there’s something going on around here for sure.

Whit: Socks would make great sleeping bags I bet-- we never have matches of those either, especially the smallest socks.  Scotch tape, the only time I lose that is at Christmas (you know, when I really need it.)  What do you think they use that for?

Robyn: They probably use it to hang wall paper.

#3- WHAT WOULD BE THE WORST PART OF BEING A BORROWER?

Whit: Climbing while carrying heavy things. I'm not much for heights as it is, so perhaps climbing in general would be a bit rough-- oh and being chased by cats wouldn't be such a picnic either.

Robyn: Cat's are a very frightening thought for borrowers... you should see my front lawn lately.  It's like a horror movie for mice, half eaten carcasses strewn about, borroweres would not do well around here I'm afraid.  Anyway, here's my answer: Ever since reading this book I’ve really been wondering about the bathroom situation for these tiny people.  I mean they just borrow stuff from the big folks for everything they need… but tiny plumbing?  Little toilets?  I think figuring out that stuff would be the worst part of being a Borrower (though one square of toilet paper would go a long way I guess).

Whit: Oh, yuck! Yes, I see what you're saying...hmmm, I think I change my answer to the exact same thing you said! Weird that you've been thinking about that since you read the books though.

Robyn: yeah, I'm weird.


#4- WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST BENEFIT TO BEING A BORROWER?

Whit: I love the creative way they use human items, especially in decorating. I'd probably spend hours borrowing illustrations from my favorite books to use as wall paper...hmm, what could I use to turn the pages of those huge books?  

Robyn:  Wall papering with children's books!!!  Genius!

They don’t really ever have to cook much… wouldn’t it be awesome if there were people living above you making soups, breads, fancy deserts and you just borrowed a bit every night to feed your miniscule family?  To never have to plan another meal again… that would be divine.  (To be fair things really change for these little folks in the second book.)

Whit: Again, I totally agree-- they eat like tiny kings! Mmm, cookies crumbs from tea each day-- maybe I would need to do all the climbing to stay in shape.

#5-RATE THE BOOK ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN, TEN BEING AS GOOD A TRIPLE SCOOP ICE CREAM CONE AND ONE BEING A CAN OF WET DOG FOOD.

Whit: I'm giving this one an 8.  I loved the whole discussion between Arriety and the boy: whether or not the world is for big people or for little people-- and the boat in the soup. (This is going to make zero sense if you haven't read the book, sorry.) So funny, and really quite clever.  I do think it ended quite abruptly though, perhaps questions will be answered in the next book?

Robyn: Yes, yes they will.

I’m going to give it a seven… the beginning was a little slow for me.  But once it picked up I enjoyed it very much, in fact I liked it enough to read the second directly after the first and I think I’ll pick up number’s 3 & 4 to finish off the series sometime soon.


And, that wraps it up!  Has anyone out there in internet land read this book?  What do you think?  Are we spot on? Way off?  Do Borrowers take stuff of yours all the time?

If you'd like to join in on our next Bizarro Book Club, we'll be reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.  I've been wanting to read it since it's release in 2010 ( it got a Newberry award the following year).  We are coming upon the season for all things spooky after all... so, lets read it now!  Pick up a copy and join us here on the blog Friday Oct. 26 for heated discussion.  ;) 

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