The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
This is the first novel I've read whose protagonist is, actually, a giant, and not in the fairy tale way. Her early years are taut and miserable, living with an alcoholic father in a tiny town where being anything extreme is discouraged.
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Her older sister, a model of beauty and decorum, only serves to set Truly off as even more vast and unacceptable. As the years go by and things only seem to get harder, Truly has to search hard This is the first novel I've read whose protagonist is, actually, a giant, and not in the fairy tale way.
As the years go by and things only seem to get harder, Truly has to search hard and cling tight to the people and things in life that can serve her a tiny bit of happiness. And while Truly is not a fairy tale giant, the book does seem to have a sheen of rural mythology about it. A handed down quilt, a ramshackle family farm, a letter - these seemingly innocuous heirlooms change the course of Truly's life in ways as tremendous as Truly herself.
Life and death are constantly demanding to be accounted for and acknowledged while Truly finds a way to pick through the rough parts and find the gems in surviving and moving on. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County earns five stars from me for not only its plot, which winds through Truly's life, but especially for its language - the prose of this book is poetic and tight. I found I couldn't read without a pencil to underline passages that struck me as either beautiful or profound.
Truly's way of looking at the world is emotionally charged and yet so aware of the bigger picture. Her story gives us the freedom to look at life and death and the choices we make, hoping all the while that, in the end, we'll be happy in our own skin. Feb 23, Kelly rated it it was amazing.
I actually went back and highlighted passages I wrote in my book- I never do that. Here's one of my favorites: "She never understood that love- especially that of a child- was the most necessary weight you can endure in life, even if it hurts, even if it tugs bags under the skin of your eyes. Without it, the soul skitters to the edge of the world and teeters there, confused. View all 7 comments. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My favorite thing about this book is the cover.
Beyond that, it is a strange story with what appear to be even after I read the epilogue giant holes in the storyline pun intended. This is Tiffany Baker's first novel and it seemed as though she had too many ideas for one book and didn't end up tying them all together very well. It was an interesting concept, but it annoyed me that we never learned exactly how big the little giant was.
I'm sure there was a reason for it, but it got lost in amo My favorite thing about this book is the cover. I'm sure there was a reason for it, but it got lost in among the fact that after awhile I didn't like the litte giant anymore. Truly faced a lot of heartache and mistreatment in her life, but she didn't get through it with compassion. She became quite mean and full of hate. And the twist, when Bobbie is found wearing the dress I think it actually confused the outcome she was trying to reach and added another layer that never really was addressed by the author.
By the end of the book, I wanted to know what happened to the characters, but it was a strange read. View all 5 comments. Dec 31, Joanne rated it it was amazing. What a terrific read. I love a book that takes over my life as did this gem; which I read in 2 days. The prose, plot, and characters captured my imagination making me eager for the next chapter. As I approached the final pages I lamented that the story would end and I would have to close the book. I highly recommend journeying with Tiffany Baker's Little Giant, Truly and the cast of characters that inhabit Aberdeen both physically and as phantoms woven into a magical quilt.
I am in awe of Tiffan What a terrific read. I am in awe of Tiffany Baker's creativity and language skills; she is a very talented writer. View 2 comments. Aug 21, Annette rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Nurses who serial kill the elderly. My lord, this book makes me angry. I can't really pinpoint what it is about it that makes me so angry, but I will try. Perhaps it is because it was given to me by my mother-in-law who said it was a good read But I think it makes me angry because I read it, I HAD to read it, in 2 sittings because it was so infuriatingly bad that I couldn't put it down.
This is a story about a woman who has a thyroid or pituitary gland problem which causes her to be gigant My lord, this book makes me angry. This is a story about a woman who has a thyroid or pituitary gland problem which causes her to be gigantic. She lives the life of all fat kids, well-crapped-out in many books, movies and after-school specials preceding Baker's version. Use your imagination and you can skip about pages.
Where is it? Does it even exist? Just as she is about to give up on the possible reality, a ray of sun, in the middle of the winter no less, creeps through a window and illuminates a generations-old hand-embroidered quilt. That's exactly how clumsily the "mysteries" of this book are handled. Rays of light illuminating things One sticks subtly out of an old book on the shelf! The "little giant" takes it upon herself to start dispensing lethal herbal potions to a an innocent cat b a lonely spinster with cancer who admittedly was obnoxious earlier in the book and then c to the evil boss of hers "but at his request.
The friend, despondent, surreptitiously took a jar of the lethal herbs after being ordered to leave. Last sentences of that chapter: " It wasn't until the next morning that I learned of their absence, and remembered her anguish, and, with my heart in my mouth, asked myself if I would have gone after her if I'd known, dragging the heavy, burdensome sword of mercy in the dirt behind me. And guess what!? It took the main character 1 and a half pages out of to get over her best friend's death No no worries here folks! Move along! Nevertheless, I decided right then that I would keep doing what I could, brewing separate infusions for life and death and putting them up on the shelf until someone asked me to take them down.
That for pages I have been asked to empathize and root for an outcast, only to be forced to witness the most unrealistic and detached way for her to deal with the suicide of her best friend. One and a half pages. Was the editor breathing down your neck or something? Oh, and there was a totally odd, misplaced side story about her nephew wearing aquamarine wedding dresses, blush and lipstick. Absolutely not. Pandering to the LGBT community in hopes of selling a couple more books?
But he becomes a famous chef in the last 6 pages of the book and critics travel "all the way from Manhattan to swoon over [his:] recipes. Incandescent, his food was called, and a tonic for the soul. View all 8 comments. Sep 15, Margaret rated it did not like it Shelves: abandoned. Sadly, not a particularly satisfying book, and I admit that I'm giving up at page out of Wanted to like it, read some good opinions about it, but it's become something of a slog. The "little giant" is Truly Plaice, an enormous girl with an overactive pituitary gland. This is more or less diagnosed on page 58 and then dropped - it's better for the plot to have a freakish main character than a medical story to address her issue or at least for the general populace to understand it medic Sadly, not a particularly satisfying book, and I admit that I'm giving up at page out of This is more or less diagnosed on page 58 and then dropped - it's better for the plot to have a freakish main character than a medical story to address her issue or at least for the general populace to understand it medically.
Truly is sister to Serena Jane, described as the incredibly lovely opposite of Truly. Truly loves and admires her sister, but not for any reason the reader can see beyond being blood kin. Serena Jane isn't mean, at least not overly so; she's just, well, rather boring. Unfortunately, Truly is, too. Baker writes fairly well, although she gets bogged down sometimes in what I'd call overly art-y or unnecessary phrases or sentences.
Here is a good description, one of a barn: " Truly is only seconds born when her mother expires p. Well, no, this is inaccurate since Truly never nursed before her mother died, and her mother's death is written about in some detail from Truly's perspective, mind you. A quibble, but the sort of thing one notices when one's actually nursed a baby Consistency in fiction is important - it's a detail to which an author should pay attention. View all 11 comments. Aug 19, Linda Irvine rated it it was ok. Some books leave me smiling, full of wonder, thoughtful, full and happy. By all rights, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County should have left me feeling all these things; instead all I feel is frustrated and grumpy.
I am frowning, and my inner ear - the ear that tells me if something sounds right, looks right, feels right, that ear - is aching from all its protests throughout this odd, disquieting novel. Lori Larsens' "The Girls" has a line in it, "I once read some wise writer's advice that an auth Some books leave me smiling, full of wonder, thoughtful, full and happy.
Lori Larsens' "The Girls" has a line in it, "I once read some wise writer's advice that an author should clean his manuscript of blood and tears, then find the sentence that tickled him most when he wrote it down - the most lyrical line, the cleverest insight, the most potent image, the most profound conclusion - and promptly strike the words out. Little Giant is littered with clever, lyrical, potent imagery - so much so it becomes as burdensome to the reader as Truly's body is to her. I really wanted to like this book - and there were parts I did like; but more parts I didn't - and too many parts that just didn't hang together.
The narrative seemed fractured to me - like there were several very different books in this one. There were times I wanted a particular plot line to be explored more fully, but Baker would go off in an entirely different direction - too eager, it seemed, to try and tell everyone's story at once, leaving me irritated and hungry for just one story in completion that made sense.
I can't completely recommend this book, but neither can I tell anyone to stay away. There are parts worth reading - there are interesting parts, and beautiful parts. Just go in knowing it might not leave you smiling and the end may piss you off completely if you're anything like me.
View 1 comment. Jan 10, Annet rated it liked it Shelves: family-ties , fantasy. Be Ware: may be spoilers here! A great and unusual fantasy story, with a realistic touch the judgement of people who are different than others, and the judgement of ugliness and fatness by society which really held me to the pages up until two thirds of the book. After that it all became a bit predictable, which is a pity for a story like this, and at times felt like a bit tacky lady romance novel re.
Therefore three stars in stead of the four I had in mind at the Be Ware: may be spoilers here! Therefore three stars in stead of the four I had in mind at the beginning. My interest just seemed to slip a bit in the end. I can understand the comparison with Irving's novels, same fantastical and unusual character of stories. Enjoyed this book, the author has potential, curious to see her next books. Jan 27, Brenda rated it it was amazing.
From the book: " Through the open door I could spy the generous leaves of the chestnut tree fluttering, and I yearned to go and stand under it, listening to its chatter. Miss Sparrow didn't really take anything from you. Whatever you ever saw in that mirror left it long ago and became a part of you. No one can steal that. Weeds sometimes blossom into artful flowers. Beauty walks hand in hand with ugliness, sickness with health, and life tiptoes around in the horned shadow of death. The trick is to recognize which is which and to recognize what you're dealing with at the time.
At any given moment, you can tip the balance just a little, one way or the other, if you're paying attention Aug 08, Cher rated it it was ok Shelves: audiobook , contemporary. The only thing I really enjoyed about this one was the author's knack for having an attention grabbing sentence to open most chapters. Otherwise, it was just alright, which was a disappointment as I normally love quirky books and expected this one to be better. The book has a very fractured feel, as though it is trying to be several different genres and cover a multitude of plot lines, which results in a novel that is stretched too thin and not hitting 2.
The book has a very fractured feel, as though it is trying to be several different genres and cover a multitude of plot lines, which results in a novel that is stretched too thin and not hitting any of these targets well. It also felt difficult to get to know the main character as she is written very inconsistently, changing significantly and frequently from one chapter to another.
Maybe a new design. Sometimes a whole new perspective on yourself First Sentence: The day I laid Robert Morgan to rest was remarkable for two reasons. May 20, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: beautiful-objects , what-a-character , death , so-this-is-love , that-dreadful-pain. One buck! Sorry, Tiffany Baker, that your book sold for one buck, but I heard it's good and it's sorta beautiful to me, so I bought it and here I go! Nov 10, Hanne rated it really liked it Shelves: contemporary-fiction. This book will be as much fun to review as to read. The only annoying thing will be to copy all the quotes I indicated, the fun part will be to revisit those quotes and pick and choose which ones to use for this review.
The problem with beautiful poetic writing is that you end up with a million quotes you want to use. The beauty of it is that you hardly need to write a review, you just start scrapbooking, writing some comments in between all the pieces you copy pasted with your literary scissors This book will be as much fun to review as to read.
The beauty of it is that you hardly need to write a review, you just start scrapbooking, writing some comments in between all the pieces you copy pasted with your literary scissors. The story is about Truly, the little giant of Aberdeen County. If it were, then I would opt to be doll-sized. Maybe even a dwarf. The first day at school is not a walk in the park: 'The teacher squeezed her eyes open and shut. To me, it was a word that swirled with extraordinary promises of castle spires and treasure chests. She spat the word through the front of her teeth, as if she were expelling used toothpaste.
I was never minute enough to squeeze to the cracks of her world. There is always a connection in between weird together. Amelia looked perfectly normal, but was so shy most of the town though she was a mute. It was not in his character to pick and follow the threads of an idea like a woman unravelling a skein of yarn. No clue where the story was really heading to. So the only thing you can do is sit down, enjoy the journey and worry about everything else later.
View all 3 comments. Feb 21, Jenny Maloney rated it liked it Shelves: lit-ladies. There was something bugging me about this book.
Little Giant Multipurpose Ladders
It starts off so strong--you've got a little giant who is beat up by the world, a perfect princess sister beside her, and a town filled with 'people of opinion'. Then something happens: the perfect sister leaves and Truly the little giant is stuck raising her child and her ex-husband. I think that this is a big no pun intended problem because you lose the juxtaposition of Truly against something small. The best scenes, in my opinion, were betwee There was something bugging me about this book.
The best scenes, in my opinion, were between the sisters. You lose an opportunity to show how wonderful Truly may be, or even how wonderful Serena Jane may be Perhaps I wanted Truly to be wonderful, but in the end, she's just like the rest of us Shy of that, by the end I was actually hoping that Dr. Morgan and Truly had some kind of relationship other than specimen and doctor.
Because by the end she seems far more like the doctor than when she started out If she honestly loved him, then I would love that she's far more complicated. I found Marcus war hero, little man who loves the big girl almost painfully saccharine and good. Know what I mean? At the very least have the kid that Truly's sacrificing everything for be a little bit of a turd.
The bows are tied too neatly for the mess that was made in the novel--and don't get me wrong I love messes, but you can't make it too clean at the end. Damage has been done. Shelves: drama-fiction. I gave this book 2 stars only for it's writing. Tiffany Baker is a beautiful writer and some very lovely lines in this book. With that said, the story itself was very, very unsatisfying. The author would bring up situations such as Truly's giantism was medical condition from her pituitary gland and the doctor, Robert Morgan, tracked and treated her, but then what.
The ball is dropped here. Bobbie wears women's clothes. What happened there, where were the discussions, what were his feelings and p I gave this book 2 stars only for it's writing. What happened there, where were the discussions, what were his feelings and perceptions It goes on and on with storylines that never take off.
I found this dull and frustrating. Also, I never really liked a single character in this book. I could not connect with any of them. OVerall, I would have given this a 1 star and put it in my absolute-crap shelf, but for the lovely writing style, I gave it 2 stars. I only finished it because I was engaged enough to believe I would get answers to many questions Do not recommend this book.
The Thousand Best
Aug 15, Nancy rated it it was amazing. I loved this book! Truly is an endlessly fascinating character -- a remarkable heroine who is frustrating and annoying at times, but also sympathetic and inspiring. She and the other townspeople of Aberdeen are amazingly realistic, considering that they live in a borderline magical world. I became totally engrossed in their complicated lives with the result that I spent too many nights reading when I should have been sleeping.
I simply couldn't put the book down until I found out how it would en I loved this book! I simply couldn't put the book down until I found out how it would end. I plan to read it again! Sep 21, Aimee rated it it was ok.
Truly Plaice is too big for her boots. Born with the 'disease' Gigantism, Truly has felt herself an outcast in Aberdeen County for as long as she can remember - especially when compared to her fairy princess sister, Serena Jane. But when Serena Jane goes missing, Truly makes a fateful decision: she moves in with Serena's Doctor husband, to keep playing at 'family' for Serena's vulnerable son, Bobbie. It is here, in this house, that Truly will be subjected to the horror of medical exper Truly Plaice is too big for her boots.
It is here, in this house, that Truly will be subjected to the horror of medical experimentation. And it is in this house that the mental and emotional abuse, rather than the physical, which seek to twist and turn Truly's heart against love. But Truly has a special weapon, a secret magic, and when the time comes for revenge, she won't be afraid to use it The Little Giant is swollen with metaphors, rich to its core.
There is a strong sense of something approaching magical realism, in the way that recipes and multi-generational secrets are wrapped up in ordinary blankets; not to mention the passions and hatreds of the people buried in gardens or books or medical drawings of blood-vesselled fist-hearts. The story of Truly is essentially a retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The monster in Truly is created and nurtured by others' weaknesses, but before long learns to feed best on itself. The book also employs many effective gothic elements, which fit strangely well with the sunny, small town setting.
Its like that old adage: the brighter the sun, the darker the shade. Along with this gothic undercurrent, there is the presence of ultimate eviiiiiilllllll!!! Dr Robert Morgan is a hideously cold villain - he views Truly not as a simple guinea pig experiment from which to remain entirely unattached, but as a worthy recipient of the pain he inflicts. I don't know about you, but I find villains with sadistic natures entirely more horrible than simple methodical science-mad ones.
Unlike Truly, his actions appear to sprout naturally, rather than as a result of his experiences with the world. The issue of Truly's revenge in the novel is fascinating. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I watered it in fears, Night and morning with my tears; And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright. And my foe beheld it shine. And he knew that it was mine, And into my garden stole When the night had veiled the pole; In the morning glad I see My foe outstretched beneath the tree. I always feel deeply affected by that last bit! It makes me wonder This is the issue Truly is faced with. She lumbers along in life, battered at every turn.
I see her stalk down the path of revenge, and as the path twists and winds and becomes darker, I follow her still. But somewhere along the way, I lose her, and it feels to me like she fails to find her way back to the light - no matter the book's ending. Yes, dear readers, I have a heart! Impossible but true! Yet no matter how hard I try I can't feel the compassion that I want to feel for the character's predicament.
In short: because I don't believe in Truly's goodness. Truly is one of those characters that we are expected to feel sorry for. But the difference between her, and say, the character of Edward Scissorhands from that early 90s movie masterpiece starring Johnny Depp, is that Edward creates beauty from his 'disability'. Whatever his pain, his ability to create art shows his ability to love. Truly , on the other hand, does nothing. With anything. She is presented with obvious choices for a better life, and she ignores them. At no point does she stand up for herself, fight back, or even feel that life is so particularly unfair that she wants to sob, or weep bloody tears, or scream at the sky.
It makes me feel as if no one got a fair warning to her morphing into this dark Angel of Death and Wielder of Justice. You give people a right-royal talking to before you willingly take on the role of Harbinger of Death, YES? This one-dimensional Truly makes for more of a caricature than a character of any depth. In fact, all of the characters are like this. They wouldn't seem out of place on a team of superheroes, or in the background of a fairytale, but what right does Truly have being a protagonist?
She feels jealousy, but no awe. She feels hatred, and she pushes away her potential loved ones almost the whole way through. She's a monotone of pain and ugliness. I like to have a troubled heroine - but one must ultimately learn her lesson in the end. I don't believe Truly does. Not enough of a lesson, in any case. I also had trouble establishing any mystery or sense of suspense with this novel. There are so many hints about any possible secrets that you wonder whether you are either incredibly brainy, or the characters in the book are incredibly stupid not to put two-and-two together.
It's completely unromantic go on, sound the death knell for me right here - the scenes range from peculiar, to a little creepy, to darn uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong - there are parts of this novel that rub hard at my heart because the author has picked the juiciest metaphor that just fits like perfection. Other times, however, there are highly strange language device uses that my brain refuses to compute, like "I could see Marcus hacking at a thicket of bushes like a sour angel, already resenting the first licks of autumn.
Despite this confusion, I have to give the book props for its discussion potential. At pages of slightly-too-small print, it will of course depend on your book group's penchant for thickish reading materials. If you do decide to take the plunge, I'd say it's a safe bet you could talk for hours on topics such as the ideal of Beauty, nature versus nurture, the modern emergence of Pagan religion But for the purpose reading for pure enjoyment - I'd say pick up another book.
I don't doubt that mine will be an extremely unpopular opinion, and in a definite minority. But for me, the feeling that I am left with upon finishing this book is one of I am utterly perplexed by Truly and unsure of the author's purpose. To be entirely truthful, I dislike Truly immensely, and it urks me to think that my perception of this story might be marred by her weak and totally uninspiring character.
Especially when the writing itself is so well-done most of the time. I guess what I'm trying to say through all of this is that I just. For those of you who can sustain themselves on small, slight feelings of hope - I think you'll find this book to be totally different to what I've described. I wish I was like you. So I would caution those amongst you who are a little fragile and hopelessly romantic at heart, but brave enough to venture into this dense and tangled tale to please remember your flashlight.
Actually, take spare batteries as well, just in case you lose your way. You know, you never appreciate purity of light until you're engulfed in an especially vengeful darkness. May 03, Judy rated it really liked it. I react strongly to the visual impact of a book jacket and this one leaped off the library shelf at me. I had read some good reviews of this book so I was intrigued. Truly Plaice is the Giant of Aberdeen County--a baby born so large that the entire town was taking bets on the birth weight.
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Her mother died shortly after the birth--Truly's father and the inhabitants of the town believe that it was because Truly was so huge, but in fact, it was due to cancer. Infant Truly is left with a father who I react strongly to the visual impact of a book jacket and this one leaped off the library shelf at me.
Infant Truly is left with a father who is unable to cope with two daughters, and an older sister, Serena Jane, who is as petite and beautiful as Truly is huge and ugly. This book explores contemporary definitions of worth, beauty, and humanity. It also draws a picture of life in a small town in rural upstate New Yok that highlights the fact that small towns are the same wherever they are placed geographically.
With the dead mother, the emotionally absent father who also dies early from alcoholism , the beautiful sister the princess , and the giant who is outcase and sent to live with a poor family on the outskirts of town, this book could be read as an American fairy tale. Now that I think about it, there is also a wolf and even a prince charming in disguise. Truly invites us to view her story in these terms. She even describes herself and her sister as "the fairy child and the ugly duckling.
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An enjoyable read. Feb 14, Kathy rated it really liked it. Truly Plaice is a giant who continues to grow, long after everyone else has stopped, because of an overactive pituitary gland. Because of her appearance, she is mocked, teased, and rejected by many. A bit of an offbeat session for tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin , The Little Giant features three originals by then-obscure pianist Norman Simmons , a reworking of the pop tune "Playmates," Babs Gonzalez 's "Lonely One," and the tenorist's "63rd Street Theme.