Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County follows the life of Truly Plaice. The moment she is born into her family it is forever changed. Her mother dies during childbirth and her father never recovers. Not only that, but Truly is an oddity from the start. She is an enormous baby and continues to be large throughout her life. This would be apparent on its own, but standing beside her beautiful, dainty sister Serena Jane she sticks out even more. Life become even more different for the sisters when their father dies and they are separated into different families. Serena Jane goes to a family that dotes on her and Truly to a farm full of bad luck. Serena wears beautiful dresses and hair bows while Truly wears boys clothes or dull colored bag-like dresses. Much of Truly's life she is a giant, but mostly invisible to the entire town while Serena Jane is the object of affection to all around her. It is this beauty that leads Serena Jane into an unwanted marriage to Robert Morgan. She endures it as long as she can, but then escapes to a new life leaving behind a husband and a son. Truly comes in to pick up the pieces of the family left behind and finds herself in a way she never imagined.
I enjoyed this story. I don't have anything in common with the characters individually, but I am from a small town. I understand the views that different is odd rather than special. Truly spent most of her life as an outcast. She was either ignored or people found her gruesome. She was the "little giant"- huge in size and small in impact. As her life progresses even her actions are dictated by someone other than herself. Her sister Serena runs from the life she hates leaving a husband and a son and instructions to find Truly. It is with this note that Truly comes to run the household of her horribly cruel brother-in-law Robert "Bob Bob" Morgan. That is where she is set to spend the rest of her days, until unlocking the secret of Robert's ancestor changes her forever. Her knowledge provides her with a strength and power she didn't know she could possess. It also allows her to become more comfortable with the life and appearance she has been given. Through her few friends and her new found knowledge, Truly is able to move forward and begin to make life what she wants it to be.
I did have an issue with how shallow everyone in the town seemed to be. I stated above that a small town can frown upon differences rather than celebrating them, but that would never be an entire town. This story seemed to have only two characters who could even stand to be around Truly - Amelia and Marcus. Both of these characters also had traits that made them outcasts. I just found it a bit hard to believe that not one adult in the story showed love toward Truly. More than that they openly loathed being near her and seemed out to get her. I think this shallowness may have been over-emphasised to make Truly's differences stand out in the storyline.
I think the real focus of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County was to weave a story that confronts differences and mortality. Differences can direct our path in life to an extent, but it still within our ability and our responsibility to take a hold of our life and create what we want out of it. Truly started where her differences put her, but ended where she had longed to be. Mortality is a given in every life. Truly spent much of the novel confronting her possible impending death due to her disease, and assisting or being connected to the deaths of others. Dealing with those deaths is what taught Truly how to live. Death taught her that each person has a different impact and a different role in life and helped her see what she wanted hers to be.
I would recommend this book. I overall enjoyed the story and felt the symbolism really pulled the story together. I was only slightly bothered by the shallow townspeople, because of the depth and growth of the main characters.
I received this book from Newman Communications.