|The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
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When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane, the epitome of femine perfection. When he, too, relinquished his increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town on the farm of the town sadsack, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of her peers.
Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans who have been doctors in Aberdeen for generations. Though they have long been the pillars of the community, the earliest Robert Morgan married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen from there on.
When Serena Jane flees town and a loveless marriage to Bob Bob, it is Truly who must become the woman of a house that she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Truly's brother-in-law is relentless and brutal; he criticizes her physique and the limitations of her health as a result, and degrades her more than any one human could bear. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques--hidden within the folds of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.
- I don't get it
This book was terrible. I cannot understand all the high reviews it has received. I bought in as an audiobook and had I not spent good money on it, I would have quit listening to it long before the end. I DID have to stop it and come back to it a few weeks later with the hopes that it was me and not the book, but it was still bad.
The characters were shallow, the situations were trite. There was just no development of character or plot whatsover. Although it started out somewhat promising in the first third, the remainder of the book seemed to be a mess of the author's throwing in a little something about everything she ever knew anything about.
In addition, Ms Baker apparently never met a simile or metaphor she didn't like because she certainly leaned heavily on them as writing props. Perhaps it was more obvious in an audiobook but I started anticipating how she was going to end each sentence. Would she start her simile with "like" or "as"? Would she use one or two similes? Rare was the sentence that had none.
I do not understand what others saw in this book that I missed. ...more info
- Mildly Entertaining
I'm trying to think what it is about this book that left me feeling so empty when I finished it. The story was interesting, the writing was decent, but overall it seemed to lack depth and "soul". Another reviewer remarked that the characters seemed "cartoonish" and I have to agree. It felt almost like a book for young adults--easy to follow story, "quirky" characters, but in the end seemed corny and overwrought. Too bad....more info
- What is Beauty?
In Tiffany Baker's first novel, she has created some unforgettable characters. Truly Plaice, the "little giant," is at the core of this novel, and her affliction with acromegaly underscores the novel's unspoken question, "What is beauty?" Truly has an older sister, Serena Jane, who is considered the town's petite and charming beauty. But Serena is the one who leaves her (outwardly handsome and prosperous, yet inwardly evil) husband, and seven year old son. Truly, feeling sorry for her nephew, winds up moving in as their housekeeper.
This is a book I won't soon forget--it is well-written and compelling without being pretentious, and Baker's twist on an old theme is enhanced by skilled plotting and characterization....more info
- Needs more work and could have been better
Tiffany Baker's The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is well written and Ms. Baker has a creative way of expressing herself as well as considerable command of the English language. However there are some weaknesses to the work that bear mentioning. There were so many references to Truly's giant size that eventually the reader gets tired of hearing how large Truly is. There are holes in the plot that make much of the book unrealistic. I think Ms. Baker should have spent just a bit more time editing and re-writing so that the plot holes were taken care of and resolved. Likewise, there are parts of the book that are too obvious, such as where Tabatha had hidden her book of spells and cures. Many characters were given too short a treatment in terms of character development. Many of the men were stereotypical and seemed to lack realism. Often we are told too much by Ms. Baker and she could have actually produced a stronger book had she said less rather than said more. A good example of this is the conversations Dr. Robert Morgan has with law enforcement and the coroner about notifying him whenever an unknown woman's body was located. We could have used a bit more mystery here. There were very few if any surprises in the novel, it was a just a bit too predictable. I did think there was some dark somber humor hidden in the book, especially in the odd characters of the school teacher and the preacher's wife, both of whom were hateful creatures. I wish I could say more positive aspects of the novel but Ms. Baker should have spent just a bit more time re-writing this novel. As it now stands, it is a bit too amateurish. ...more info
- A Little Giant in a Little Story
Tiffany Baker's "The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" is set in the second half of the 20th century in the small town of Aberdeen, New York. The story focuses on the life of Truly, a girl in Aberdeen who has a disease that makes her grow unusually fast. Her size makes Truly an outcast her entire life, a problem that is compounded when the town insists on comparing Truly to her perfect and beautiful sister Serena Jane. Truly leads a difficult life, and it is only made more challenging by decisions others make for her. It is only once Truly decides to take her life into her own hands, that she is able to escape the stigma of being the "little giant" and find happiness.
I think my opinion of this book suffered from the over-the-top praise that I read about it before I actually got around to reading the book. From what I had heard others say, I thought this book was going to change my perspective and introduce me to a completely new and wonderful character. Instead, "Little Giant" is filled with miserable people who are downright cruel to each other. Only at the very end of the novel does anything even remotely uplifting happen, but by that point the novel is so dark it's hard to redeem. I feel like I can't say too much without giving away the plot, but I found myself continually frustrated by the passivity of the characters--they knew they were miserable, but they did nothing to try to change their circumstances. There was no great lesson for all of this suffering, and at the end of this novel I felt sorry for its characters but I also felt a little empty--I couldn't figure out what the purpose of the story had been.
This novel is still kicking around in my head--I think I'm still trying to figure out why the author wanted to tell this story--so I can't say it wasn't worth reading. Baker also has a gift with language, and she has some wonderful turns of phrase that made sections of the novel beautiful to read. But I am puzzled as to much of the praise for this novel--but I would still likely recommend that if you're curious about this buzzed about book, go ahead and give it a read....more info
- Great read!
Although it took me a little while to get absorbed into the story, I really enjoyed it. ...more info
- Slow, boring, over written
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County should be a great read, but it's a story told in such a loose structure, and in so many points of views it actually limits the perspective. I must confess right here that I do not care for novels that are written from the point of view of a child. As as adult reading an adult's novel, I am interested in the thoughts and actions of people my own age. My other criticism is that all of the characters seem the same, in spite of the meticulous descriptions of each, the writing is so overdone, it's hard to tell one from another. I have slogged through the first 100 pages wondering why I'm reading it. I can't get swept up in the plot, because I can't find a character I like or care about and frankly don't find the writing special enough to make it worth the work! There are just too many cliches and old fashioned writing gimmicks to make this a great book. Crazy to compare this book to Anne Tyler and John Irving, it just doesn't hold up to anything they've written. Nice cover though....more info
- Sorry when it ended
I try to be sparing with my five-star reviews, but any book that keeps me riveted from beginning to end deserves no less. Truly is certainly a pragmatic young lady, learning very young to make the best with what you're given. Ms. Baker has a real gift for description, dialogue, and characterization, and in LGOAC she tells a story that is so enchanting, I got caught up and began to feel that I knew all these people. I was sorry when it was over, but will continue to think about Truly and life in Aberdeen for a while to come....more info
- Less description, More story
The author spends a large amount of time on creative descriptions of every little thing. I don't know if there are any other ways to describe an obese person. The author used them all. (too often) I became exhausted trying to weed through the fluff to get to the story and I finally gave up.
I was unable to find anything likeable about any of the characters so it was hard to get involved enough to really care about them.
I am surprised that the book earned 4 stars overall....more info
- This book is a gem
"The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" is narrated by Truly Plaice, an unusually large child who grows into an even larger adult, who tells her own tale along with the other interesting and eccentric people in her life. This books spans many years and follows Truly along her path, where it seems as though she is destined for misfortune and heartache. Truly dances along the fine line of morality and obligation when she unlocks the secrets to ancient herbal remedies and their dangers, which ends up altering her fate and teaching her important life lessons.
There are so many reasons why I adored this book. The most obvious one being Tiffany Baker's beautiful and eloquent writing. She has a real talent for conveying her meaning through metaphor and I often stopped to re-read certain passages out of admiration. It's astounding to me that this is Tiffany Baker's first novel, as her writing has the maturity of an experienced author.
The storyline itself is also as imaginative and well-crafted as they come, which also amazed me that it's written by a first-time novelist. Each character in this book is almost an exaggeration of themselves, and yet there is something so human and relatable about them.
I also loved the mystical and magical elements of the story, which added a unique quality to the plot and made it even more interesting.
I don't want to spoil too much about the book because yes, it is that good and I want others to read it and see for themselves why it is worthy of all the praise it is receiving! Needless to say, this book has quickly risen to the top of my list of favorite books. It is not one that everyone will necessarily fall in love with, but it is one that I felt an immediate connection with and will recommend to anyone in search of a true gem of a book.
http://bookopolis.blogspot.com ...more info
- A lovingly-aggressive story of a gigantic woman trying unsuccessfully, to fit into a small-town mould. BCM
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is an interesting and unique novel. When I first saw the cover of this book, I just had to read it! At first this story seemed a little odd, yet it grabbed my attention and has a fresh and invigorating plot. The characters are well written and colourful; making me love some and despise others. Truly, who is the central character in this story, is fascinating and very likeable. I enjoyed learning more about her and the medical condition she suffered from as the story progressed. I felt resentment towards the towns' people who treated Truly so unfairly, as if she were some sort of freak. While constantly rooting for Truly, I was secretly hoping that the scheming and short-tempered Doctor Morgan would come to a bad end. The mystery surrounding the Morgan family and the secrets that Truly uncovers are wonderful and deadly, all at the same time.
Written from Truly's perspective, this nifty book walks us through her life and the interactions between all of the characters and some of the towns' people. Truly discovers that life and love, can always find a way.
(8 out of 10 Diamonds) - Thoroughly enjoyed it
? 2008-2009 Bobbie Crawford-McCoy (Book Reviews By Bobbie).
All rights reserved.
- The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
For a debut novel this is an exceptional well written book. I really enjoyed it....more info
- Sweetly Disturbing
I thought this book was a wonderful story of human nature. Lovely and nasty, depending on the day and/or situation. I thought this book was fluid and entertaining....more info
- A Little GIANT of Great Read!
Since Wally Lamb gave us Dolores Price in SHE'S COME UNDONE, I have yearned for a character like Truly Plaice and now thanks to Tiffany Baker's superbly imaginative and captivating writing, we have a `little giant' to root for. This book is sheer magic in so many ways as we follow the painfully poignant journey of our heroine, Truly, in a life filled with contrasts: tragedy and small wonders, sorrow and delight, triumph and tragedy.
Aberdeen County, in rural New York State, is a character in itself as the setting plays into the story in general. This is a small town where everyone is connected in some way either as a family member or through marriage. Of course, in a place such as this, everyone knows each other's business as well. And Truly Plaice didn't enter this town quietly but rather as BIG news!
Lily Plaice was expecting her second child in 1953 and was so large during her pregnancy that the townspeople made wagers on how big the baby would be. However, none of the citizens of Aberdeen County were quite prepared for how huge this baby girl really was. Least of which were her parents because Lily Plaice couldn't handle the size of this baby and she died giving birth to her.
As the narrator of the story, Truly describes how her father was totally unprepared to take care of two young children-herself and older sister, Serena. Due to a pituitary gland deformity, Truly grows larger each day and when she was old enough to realize she was different, there was no sympathetic parent to help her cope with this odd medical condition. Her father is hateful towards her and verbalizes that it was her fault her mother died trying to "push her out". Truly hopes for an escape when she starts school but instead, she gains her nickname on the first day when the teacher says to her, "You're a Little Giant".
Serena and Truly are separated when their father dies and the girls go to live with other families. Serena, pretty and "normal" looking, goes to live with a very rich family while Truly is sent to live on a farm with a very poor family. Amanda Pickerton and her minister husband take in Serena and they adore her and treat her like a doll. Truly was sent to a broken down farm owned by the Dyerson family where she grew to love working outside and with the farm horses. Truly had only two friends, unusual in their own ways, young Amelia Dyerson and a quick minded boy named Marcus. He was a wiz at remembering details. This group made up a pathetic existence for Truly.
Meanwhile, Serena Jane's future seems to be going very well until Bob Bob Morgan comes along. He is the youngest of the Morgan family who have been the town's doctor for what seems like forever. The Morgan family history goes far back in Aberdeen and the first Morgan supposedly married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson. Tabitha's secret book of mysterious forces is said to be hidden and it supposedly contains secrets for healing and other mystifying spells. When Serena abandons her son to escape the cruelty of Bob Bob, she leaves Truly to care for her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie, under the hateful eye of her brother-in-law. Bob Bob criticizes Truly because of her body size and degrades her. However, it is in this part of the setting that Truly discovers her fate. She finds a family quilt filled with old family secrets that lead to GIAGANTIC changes in Aberdeen County. From healing potions to life saving emotions, Truly shows she can take the good with the bad and just when you think you have this tale figured out, something else changes to keep you interested until the very end! This little giant of a book by Tiffany Baker is highly recommended and leaves all who have read it looking forward to the next work of Ms. Baker!
Submitted originally to http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com
- Love is Love....
I could not have loved this book anymore! I adored it and did not want it to end.
Tiffany Baker's first novel begins with the birth of Truly Paice. She is so huge, that before she is born, local townsfolk start taking bets on just how big she will be. Her poor mother is so swollen and enormous that she becomes a spectacle to her neighbors. But that is nothing compared to the spectacle that Truly becomes, when she arrives in this world as a giant. She is so big, that she is blamed for the death of her mother, and must live with that guilt and shame as well as the embarrassment of her girth. She must also deal with the fact that she is the polar opposite of her stunningly beautiful sister, Serena Jane, who is the town's princess. Her childhood is filled with harassment, heartache and confusion.
But Truly is a strong, both physically and mentally. When she thinks the hardships of childhood are over she is called to step in and take care of her sister's family. Serena's little boy is a joy, but her husband is another story altogether. Once again, Truly is face to face with a bully.
Truly is an amazing character, as big with heart as she is in size. And though she is famous for her enormous bulk, she also become known for her kindness in times of true desperation. Can Truly really be a savior to those who tortured her? Can she look beyond the abuse and torment to help those who are helpless and begging for her assistance? And is it possible for her to ever find love in a town where she is considered a "freak"? Can anyone see beyond her massive size? And can she get beyond her massive wall of anger and resentment to let anyone see?...more info
- What were Gruen and Kallos thinking?
I read The Little Giant of Aberdeen County because it came with blurbs from Sara Gruen and Stephanie Kallos, both of whom have written books I admired. Well, Gruen and Kallos may be excellent writers of fiction, but they're apparently not so hot as judges of other writers' fiction, because Little Giant doesn't belong on the same shelf with Water for Elephants, Broken for You, and Sing Them Home.
For one thing, many of the characters in Little Giant are almost cartoonishly unbelievable. I'm prepared to believe that a child who has the misfortune to be born with gigantism in a small town in upstate New York would be teased mercilessly by all the other children in the town, and that many of the adults in the community would behave in an uncaring way toward her. But I find it hard to believe that virtually all of the adults in the town -- including the doctor, the schoolteacher, and the minister's wife -- would be so repulsed by the child's appearance that they would be not just uncaring, but almost pathologically hostile to her.
For another thing, the book is badly written, with breathtakingly banal observations about life (which the author seems to think are original and profound) appearing on almost every page. The author's most annoying stylistic tic is her tendency to make up extremely strained metaphors (or, as she would probably describe them, metaphors as strained as a weak teabag). By the time I got to "Truth is like a blunt hoe", near the end of the book, I wished I had a blunt hoe to attack the book with. Where was the editor who could have nipped this metaphor-mania in the bud, like a gardener with a pair of secateurs? (Oh, no -- now she's got me doing it, too!)...more info
- very mixed feelings
about this novel. While I can relate to Truly's pain as a child. I lost sympathy for her when she changed from victim to villain. Baker can write, but this was just too fantastic for belief. Also found it hard to believe Truly never suspected her sister was alive. Perhaps Baker will do better next time....more info
- Adored This Debut! 5 Stars
I absolutely loved The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. An amazing debut for Tiffany Baker.
The story begins when Lily Plaice was pregnant with her second child in 1953 , and covers the span of about 40 years. Everyone in her small town in Aberdeen County, New York, suspected that Lily was going to deliver a huge baby, but when delivery day arrived, no one was prepared for exactly how huge the baby girl that they named Truly would be. The baby was so big, that Lily died giving birth to her.
The father, a barber who drank beer for breakfast, was not prepared to take care of Truly and her older sister Serena. There were no birthday parties, no Christmas tree, and only hand me down clothes. He blamed Truly for his troubles and for the death of his wife.
Little Truly continues to grow huge because of a pituitary gland deformity, and she becomes the subject of constant laughter and abuse because of her size. She must wear men's shirts as nothing fits her. Her father even tells little Truly "no wonder Lily died pushing you out. Hell, you'd block a barn door". Her teacher on her first day of school, tells five-year-old Truly, "You're a Little Giant". Truly describes the differences between her appearance and her sister's appearance by saying: "The two of us were as opposite as sewage and spring water".
Truly is resilient, making the best of a bad situations, and she often finds comfort at her mother's grave. When the girl's father dies unexpectedly, the girls are separated.
Pretty Serena Jane is sent to be raised by a wealthy family, and Truly goes to live on a farm with a poor family. Serena is popular, and has a lot going for her. She eventually marries Bob Bob Morgan a doctor who came from a family of doctors. It is actually believed that during the Civil War, the first Robert Morgan married the town witch, who healed the sick, and was said to have hid her spell book before she died, but no one had been able to find it. Serena gives birth to a son Bobbie. Unhappy in her loveless marriage she disappears, and Truly is told that she her sister has died.
Doctor Bob Bob gets Truly to move in with him to cook and clean for him and her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Bob Bob is cruel to and always taunting her about her size. However when Truly begins to play with various herbs and finds she has the ability to heal illness with herbs and other secrets hidden within the folds of the Morgan family magical quilt. She eventually unearths old secrets, and is determined to seek revenge on Bob Bob who tormented her.
Truly, the narrator of this story is one tough cookie. She makes a wonderful narrator who just seems to take what bad breaks life throws at her, and she finds happiness and love in unexpected places. The writing style of this book was magical, and the contrasting themes worked so well in this story for me. There were several twists in this story as well. This book was totally enjoyable and is highly recommended. I will be watching for more books by this author....more info
- Good but a bit disjointed
This was a book that caught my attention due to the cover and kept it due to the content inside.
While not the best book I have ever read, it keep me interested and reading until I reached the end this afternoon. The story is told from the perspective of Truly who is very large at birth and continues to grow way beyond anything that would be considered normal. Her sister is pretty and petite and physically everything that Truly isn't. Their mother dies while giving birth to Truly and the father is emotionally unable to deal with the death, finding comfort in the beer he constantly drinks. Not only is her home life less than desirable, the town manages to be especially cruel to Truly and views her as a freak. Upon the death of their father, the two sisters are separated and we follow their lives over the course of time. Serena is physically absent in most of the book but manages to exert a huge influence on the decisions that Truly makes about how she is going to live her life.
Many serious issues are tackled throughtout this book - bullying, rape, alcoholism, physical disease, depression are just a few and my major complaint with the novel is that I often felt jerked around from significant issue to significant issue. I wish there had been fewer dramas going on and more attention paid to the ones remaining. This author has a lot to say, I just wish it was said over more than one book.
Even with the above comments, the writing is largely good (though not up to the standards of Margaret Atwood who Ms. Baker has been compared to) and I think some of the reasons I didn't totally love this book will be ironed out as the author gains experience. I look forward to reading her future works. ...more info
- Outstanding but with one flaw
I'm in agreement with the glowing reviews for this novel. One of the most interesting and fascinating novels I have read in quite some time. The characters were believable and well developed. The only "flaw" was on page 318 with the showdown between the two main characters, Truly and Amelie. The editors made a huge oversight in calling "Amelie", "Amanda." This glaring error stopped me cold....was a very tense moment between the two and to have an obvious mishap in names is inexcusable in my opinion. In fact, I am going to write the publishing company and complain. Other than that, the book gets 5 stars!...more info
- Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Kept me reading to find out if it would get better. It did! Nearing the end I wondered if she would ever lose weight. I thoroughly enjoyed the book....more info
- The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
It was a very unusual story, quite an interesting story. I didn't see where it was going until nearly the end, and I liked the conclusion because, at least, while it wasn't a Hollywood-tyke happy ending, it was satisfying and tied up most of the loose ends. I would like to see more from this auther, as I understand this is her first work. Her character devwlopmentg is quite good, but takes a long while to understand, as it is mostly done from the pont of view of the main character. In all, a very satisfying read....more info
- SMALL TOWN CRUELTY AT IT'S WORSE
I don't think I've ever read anything like this book before. It was original, it captivated me from the very start, and it held me spellbound to the very end. I was rooting for Truly and wanted someone to champion her cause. I found the descriptions of the town, Aberdeen, and the townspeople to be extraordinarily vivid. I detested the unbelievable cruelty and small mindedness of the adults in Aberdeen. The very people, family included, who were supposed to nurture her, make her feel safe and secure, failed miserably. The town's treatment of Truly, was indefensible, and the vicious comments made to her face throughout her life went beyond cruel. Nobody should have to endure a lifetime of such treatment, but Truly did just that. And, what I found remarkable about Truly was that she did not become a bitter person. What others did to her did not crush her spirit, and it did not extinguish the light in her soul.
Truly really was a remarkable woman and, I believe, one of integrity and honesty. I so wanted Truly to get revenge on all of her tormentors. Did she seek revenge? Did she stop growing? Did she ultimately find love for herself? You'll just have to read the book to find those answers. This is one story that will stay with you for a long, long time. What a fantastic debut! I expect we haven't seen the last of this author. Well done!!!!...more info
- Kept me interested in spite of myself.
When I kept reading in the flyleaf that this book had "a touch of magic" and that the main character was a giant, I expected it to be an urban fantasy novel. It isn't. Even if you think, from the synopsis on this page that it is, it still isn't. But it kept my attention - I wanted to know how it ended. It is a technically depressing book, but not written in particularly despondent prose - things are bleak, but people just keep steadfastly moving forward (or trying to). I am a big fan of herb lore, and the herb lore was sound. I only really remember having my suspension of disbelief taxed once (when Truly is rejected for being cantankerous at 18 months)....more info
- book review
This book waS GREAT AND A SUPRISE. I DIDNT EXPECT TO RELATE TO THE CHARACTERS LIKE i DID A KEEPER FOR SURE!...more info
This was such an interesting premise for a book that I couldn't wait to read it. While, for the most part the story is strong, I did feel a tad bit let down by the ending
Author Tiffany Baker has created a very unique heroine in Truly. I found that I was rooting for her every step of the way. There is also a wonderful cast of characters that were very richly described. I do like the fact that Baker never really lets the reader know just how big Truly actually is. That is totally left up to the readers' imagination.
I did think that the ending tied things up a little too neatly. That's not such a terrible thing, but considering how unique the rest of the book was, I expected something different in the end. I still recommend the book highly.
- A magical, multi-generational history - tailor made for literary fiction fans!
When Truly Plaice was born in 1953, she certainly made a place for herself in the annals of Aberdeen County history. No one in this small New York village had ever seen, or even imagined, that an infant could be so large. Sadly, Truly's mother died giving birth to her little (?) girl, whom everyone bet would be a boy, given the size of the pregnant woman's belly. What few people knew, was that Lily Plaice was destined to die young, Truly or no Truly. Dr. Robert Morgan IV had discovered a large lump in the woman's breast during her third trimester, so Lily's days were numbered. Thus, the newborn was left lacking sweet maternal care. She was to be eternally deprived of a Mom to sooth her in her differences, to dry her tears when kids made fun of her, and to give her unconditional love.
Now, Serena Jane, Truly's big sister, never lacks for love, maternal or otherwise. As unlike her sibling, as a sylph is to the broad side of a barn, she is petite, beautiful, and so like a princess from the fairy world, that she never lacks for anything. She is "perfect." Everyone is willing to take the precious Serena Jane into their homes and hearts. Meanwhile, Truly continues to grow at such an alarming rate, that by the age of one and a half, she outgrows her four year-old sister's clothes. And she continues to grow and grow and eat and eat. It is all Earl Plaice can do to keep his younger daughter in food and clothing, which has to be made special, usually out of khaki and brown cloth. Serena Jane, wears pastels, ruffles and lace.
Earl refuses to take Truly to see the only doctor in town, Dr. Robert Morgan IV, to discover what is wrong with her, as he still bares a grudge against the physician he believes negligently killed his wife. Much later in the novel, we learn that perhaps if the "little giant" had been treated earlier, her condition might have improved. She has what is known as acromegaly, a chronic disease marked by enlargement of the bones of the extremities, face, and jaw that is caused by over-activity of the pituitary gland.
Tragically, Earl dies of disappointment. Serena is taken in by the Reverend and Amanda Pickerton, who make her their own and provide her with a life of privilege. They want no part of Truly, who is sent to live with the impoverished and eccentric Dyersons on their farm at the edge of town. There she continues to grow but finds some emotional solace with this strange family. However, she has lost her mother and father, and now is separated from her sister. It is her dignity and inner grace which see her though bad times.
Now all this sounds like a terribly depressing story, but really, it is so much more fun than sad, especially if you are a fan of dark humor. Truly Plaice, our narrator, is a wonderfully endearing character with enough grit and self-deprecating humor to survive life's and love's limitations. She has two eccentric but dear friends, Marcus and Amelia, who, in their own right, are as different as Truly. And this threesome are certainly heads and shoulders, (pun??), above the rest of the town's folk in so many of the traits that really count.
"The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" spans many years and is almost epic in its multi-generational history. The reader follows Truly's life, times and adventures. Subplots abound, as do laughs, tears, intrigue, lies and magic. There is the mysterious legacy of Tabitha Dyerson, a local healer - or witch - who married the very first Dr. Robert Morgan, a Civil War deserter. The town's infirm flocked to Tabitha, whose herbal remedies cured more patients than her husband's scientific medicines ever did. She was said to have left behind a "book of shadows," a witch's book, with recipes for all her potions. Although many looked, no one ever found it....yet! There are many enchanting and mystical moments within these pages, as well as some surprising twists in the storyline and a variety of characters worth getting to know.
This is Tiffany Baker's debut novel and she has done a fine job of writing with eloquence and maturity. Her primary theme is the importance of acceptance and inner beauty. I did find the pace to be a bit uneven at times. Ms. Baker's narrative begins with a bang and then slows considerably toward the middle of the novel. The pace does pick up again and the ending is justly rewarding. Recommended for fans of literary fiction.
Jana Perskie...more info
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