The Borrowers Avenged (The Borrowers #5)
Mary Norton (Juvenile Fantasy)
In shock over the loss of their trio of moneymakers, the Platters plan to stake out Little Fordham to recapture the little people who have inexplicably escaped their attic prison. Meanwhile, Miss Menzies is distraught at the sudden absence of her friend Arrietty and the family that she’s come to love. Knowing that no good deed goes unpunished, Pod understands the immediacy of getting his family as far away from Little Fordham as possible before those nasty Platters return because luck and ingenuity will not save them next time. With the discovery of a permanent home—along with a new borrower—it seems that things are finally as they should be for our favorite little family, but their safety may once again be at risk when the Platters learn that a credible “finder” is in their midst and with the help of a bit of clothing left behind by Homily, could the Clock’s days of freedom be coming to an end?
Written twenty-one years after her fourth book in The Borrowers series, The Borrowers Avenged fails to live up to the expectations set by its predecessors and is the weakest and most disappointing of Norton’s five-book series. I entered with high hopes and was not disappointed as the beginning indicated that Norton hadn’t missed a day when she picked up the story of our beloved Clock family. However, with its overly descriptive text (the story loses valuable momentum quite a few times throughout the book), the introduction of three other-worldly characters who added no value and served no purpose to the overall story, and an ending that is perhaps the bleakest and darkest I have ever read in a children’s book, it seems that Norton was writing more to her original fans (who had aged 20+ years since her last installment putting them in their early 30s) rather than to the book’s intended audience of readers aged eight to twelve. Norton even goes so far as to introduce the topic of suicide in her book, which goes beyond the pale. I’m not sure why Norton waited so long to conclude her series (which was really unnecessary), but after reading this book, not only did her characters deserve better, but her fans did as well.
There were some bright spots in this last book: the reunion with the Hendrearys; the rekindled relationship between Arrietty and her young cousin Timmus; and the introduction of Peagreen Overmantle who forces Homily to again rethink her past prejudices and appreciate that trustworthy and dependable allies come from the unlikeliest of places. Despite these, The Borrowers Avenged lacks the magic, wonder, and youthful spirit that we’ve come to expect in the series and should serve as a reminder that sometimes revenge isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
* Book cover image attributed to: www.abebooks.com
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