Friday, February 24, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty

One of my all time favourite books is The Borrowers by Mary Norton. I've read it many many times and just thinking about it now makes me feel tingly with excitement. 

I love fantasy and escaping into magical worlds that inspire imagination and make life super amazing and sparkly. I think the best fantasy novels are grounded in the real world so that they actually feel almost they could almost be true.

The Borrowers is definitely that kind of fantasy novel. It features a world exactly like our own, except there are tiny people called Borrowers living in people's houses and "borrowing" small items like hair pins and toy cups. These little people call big people "human beans" and they never reveal their existence to them out of fear.

Arrietty lives under the floorboards with her parents. She is fourteen years old and enjoys writing in her diary. If I remember correctly, her bedroom is a matchbox and postage stamps are used as paintings. The book is full of little details about the Borrowers' lives under the floorboards and all the little knick knacks they've managed to acquire. 

Eventually, Arrietty's mother allows her to go Borrowing with her father. Arrietty's interaction with the big outside world is a thrill to read about. Ordinary things become fascinating and at times threatening. 

This book is a real gem and great for Anglophiles as it is British to the core. And an extra bonus is that it's several decades old so there's no silly technology. 

Now I want to read the book again, and of course watch this brand new movie version. Amy Poehler did the voice of Arrietty's mother! The film looks gorgeous and the trailer suggests that they really captured the magic and spirit of the novel.

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