Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review Redux: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County Tiffany Baker

ISBN13: 9780446194204

352 Pages, Hardcover

**I originally reviewed this book on December 31, 2008.

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

My Thoughts:
I wasn't sure about this book in the beginning. The whole giant thing was a little weird to me. But I really like how Baker treated Truly's "condition." The descriptions of her gigantism (is that a word?) had a very magical feel, although a scientific medical condition was offered as the true cause. In the end, that is what sold me on the book: the magical feel to the story and in the language. I also thought that the interplay between the polar opposite sisters was dealt with very well. As the town beauty, especially in comparison to Truly, Serena Jane could have been a very flat and predictable character, but I was able to feel a range of emotions about her.

This book is full of difficult moral questions, and the characters make really interesting decisions. Baker touches on unrequited love, grief, suicide, rape, betrayal, homosexuality, and mercy killing. But I never felt overloaded or preached to. The characters (unfortunately for them) just encountered all these things over the course of the book. The ending was satisfying, although somewhat sad and maybe ever so slightly predictable.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5.

1 comment:

  1. This book is full of difficult moral questions, and the characters make really interesting decisions.