The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker is an awesome debut novel from this author. She has a beautiful writing style that to me was very reminiscent of Alice Hoffman. This novel kept my attention throughout and it was not one I wanted to put down.
The novel is mainly focused on Truly Plaice who from every description we get is a giant. Truly’s mother dies giving birth to her because she is so big and Truly goes on to live a life of teasing and taunts due to her size. Even worse her sister Serena Jane is a true beauty-everyone is captivated by her. When the girl’s father passes away Serena Jane goes to the reverend’s family and lives a life getting everything she wants while Truly ends up on the Dyerson farm with not much of anything. Thankfully though this is where she meets her lifelong friend Amelia and she also has a friend in Marcus, a school chum so she’s not completely alone.
The story is also about the Morgan family-the men becoming the doctors in Aberdeen. The first Morgan doctor the book talks about marries the local witch woman so there is also that element threaded through the novel and I loved that. Her name was Tabitha and legend had it that she had left a Shadow Book that had all her remedies and spells in it but nobody had ever been able to find it. Later in history, in Truly’s time, there is Bob Bob Morgan who is infatuated with Truly’s sister Serena Jane until he gets his way with her and is no longer interested. She becomes pregnant though and he is forced to marry her and they have a son they call Bobbie. They move away and there are many years that Truly does not see Serena Jane. Finally the family comes home to Aberdeen only to have Serena Jane leave. She leaves a note for, what Truly comes to call him-Robert Morgan, to go get Truly and have her take care of him and Bobbie.
So begins the next chapter in the novel. I think Serena Jane wanted her son protected and felt that Truly would do it. She does take care of Bobbie but Bobbie is a bit different. He’s definitely not a chip off the old Morgan block. Where Truly is masculine in her features, Bobbie is feminine-not a good combination with a father like Robert Morgan. Eventually things explode and the family is torn apart by many things.
The magical part of the story I really enjoyed. Truly seems to have a knack for the old ways and begins to experiment on herself with some remedies. At the same time Robert Morgan finally convinces her to have some tests done to see what’s wrong with her and we are enlightened on that situation. For him, I think she was someone he could bully and make himself feel powerful over. Truly continues to dabble and at times takes her experiments to even bigger and scarier places. Throughout the novel we feel Truly’s need for revenge on those who had always tormented her.
The book ends with secrets being revealed that threaten to tumble the already unsteady bonds that are there between those left-Truly, Bobbie, Amelia and Marcus. The book ends on a good note although there were some things I still would have liked to have known before I turned that last page. I also would have liked to know exactly how big Truly was. We never know her true weight and all we’re told is that she is taller than most men. For that reason I think I had a hard time picturing her clearly in my mind. Mostly when I think of Truly I picture a good soul. I don’t see an outer image at all if that makes sense. All in all though I was very satisfied with the ending.
This novel left me feeling I had read a really good book. I’ve been lucky again lately with the many good selections I’ve read and Little Giant is another that will be one of my favorites this year. I loved it. The author really draws you into Truly’s life. So much so that you feel her hurts and sorrows-you can feel how confused she is as to why she is like she is. She is the kind of character you follow closely behind in the book seeing what will happen in her life next. You so want the best for her because she deserves it. I also really loved Bobbie. Again the author pulls you into his life. He’s different from the folks in Aberdeen and you feel sorry for him because things aren’t always easy for him. The ending of this book left me wanting it to go on if only to find out a few things I wanted to know and also to see what the future held for everyone left.
My good friend Toni and I also had some really great book chats on this book so for our thoughts while reading the novel this past week, you can take a peek at these links for more…Toni’s here, here, here, here and mine here, here, here, here, and here. It was fun to chat about this book and I think it would make a really great book club selection. There is a lot that goes on in this novel that would spark many discussions.
You can visit the author’s website here. Thanks go to Miriam at Hachette for the copy of this wonderful book. This book will be released January 8, 2009. Stay tune tomorrow as I will be posting a great giveaway for this book.
Thanks for your review – you’ve made me really anxious to read the book.
Marvin D. Wilson says
Sounds like a fascinating read!
Dar, I’ll be reading this in the next month or so, so I’ll be back to read your review. I did peek just a bit and saw that line about the beautiful writing style, which makes me look forward to this book even more!
For some reason I thought this book was about someone who was overweight. It mentions “giant” right in the title so I don’t know why I thought that.
I do plan to read this one at some point. All the reviews I have read have said different things so I am curious about it.
S. Krishna says
Great review – I’ll definitely be entering your giveaway! You’ve made me want to read this one!
Hey Dar.. you did Great with your review. I will post my final thoughts. I finished the book tonight. WOW….what a book!!!!!
This is really and “Truly” a beautiful read.
Wow . . . a favorite of the year!?! You have actually provoked some curiousity in me.
Wow, outstanding review, Dar! I like how you and Toni discussed the book over the week.
I’ve already entered your drawing (and hers!) … keeping my fingers crossed 🙂
Glad to hear you enjoyed the book! Great review! This book is in my TBR pile, and I hope to read it soon! So far, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
Diary of an Eccentric
Kathy, I think you’ll like this one. I hope so anyway.
Marvin, it was good 🙂 Hope you’re well.
Shana, we have similar tastes usually so I’m really anxious to see what you’re going to think of it.
Ti, I wasn’t sure what it meant in the beginning and even after finishing it I still don’t know how big she was. I’d be interested to see what you think of it.
Swapna, thank you:)
Joy, I always hesitate to say how good I think something is because everyone is so different in their tastes but for me this one ranks at the top.
Dawn, the discussion part was fun. I’d be willing to do it again. I love the little mini chats.
Anna, I know you have loads on your plate but I’d sure be anxious to see what your opinion of this one would be.
This book looks like another good read…and I’m not just saying that because my name is in it! LOL
Ha Serena, aren’t you the funny one…lol.
Lovely review. I was looking forward to this book, but now seeing your comparison to Hoffman I really cannot wait!
I keep meaning to mention this–so I guess I will here. Love the green! 🙂
Anyway, I’m glad you loved this book as much as I did. I wonder at how much of Truly’s feeling lighter at the end was also figurative–after she became a little more unburdened? Anyway–definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year!
Joanne, I’d be interested to see what you’ll think of it.
Trish, thanks-I really like the green too. YOu know I hadn’t thought about Truly feeling lighter in the end like that and I think you’re absolutely right. The huge weight that had been on her shoulders for so long was gone. Good thought.
Sam, thanks and it is a good book. Hopefully you do get to read it one day.
As to Truly’s size, on p. 181, Robert Morgan talks about his bet with John Hinkleman that Truly weighs over 400 lbs., and on p. 183, after he weighs her, he says “Wow. That’s even more than I expected. You must be carrying a ton of hidden weight to come out that high.” So she most likely weighs over 400. I’m also thinking that if she is taller than most men, that would put her at 6-7 ft. tall. Does that help picture her a little better? It was hard for me too.
Mo, I remember reading that. You know she’s big but not exactly how big. I guess that’s the point though-keep you wondering.