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The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

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The Little Giant of Aberdeen County Cover

ISBN13: 9780446194204
ISBN10: 0446194204
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

In Tiffany Baker's debut novel we meet the kind-hearted Truly Plaice. Massive from birth, growing into a 400-pound giant, Truly strives to be normal in a world in which she literally and figuratively does not fit. Truly's strength of virtue comes out when she steps into the role of surrogate mother to her estranged sister's young son. She endures daily verbal abuse from her egotistical brother-in-law, the town's only doctor, in order to provide a loving home environment to her growing nephew. In the doctor's home she uncovers a quilt that contains the key to the folklore rumors that have rested with the townsfolk in her rural upstate New York community. The knowledge the quilt contains gives Truly the power of life and death and leads her to discover her own inner strength and dignity. Baker's descriptive writing flows naturally through this complex story that does not disappoint.
Recommended by michelle, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how record-breakingly 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 feminine 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.

Review:

"Baker's bangup debut mixes the exuberant eccentricities of John Irving's Garp, Anne Tyler's relationship savvy and the plangent voice of Margaret Atwood. In an upstate New York backwater, Truly, massive from birth, has a bleak existence with her depressed father and her china-doll — like sister, Serena Jane. Truly grows at an astonishing rate — her girth the result of a pituitary gland problem — and after her father dies when Truly is 12, Truly is sloughed off to the Dyersons, a hapless farming family. Her outsize kindness surfaces as she befriends the Dyersons' outcast daughter, Amelia, and later leaves her beloved Dyerson farm to take care of Serena Jane's husband and son after Serena Jane leaves them. Haunting the margins of Truly's story is that of Tabitha Dyerson, a rumored witch whose secrets afford a breathtaking role reversal for Truly. It's got all the earmarks of a hit — infectious and lovable narrator, a dash of magic, an impressive sweep and a heartrending but not treacly family drama. It'll be a shame if this doesn't race up the bestseller lists." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

In this month's issue of her magazine, Oprah directs our attention once more to a perennially fascinating subject: her weight. "How Did I Let This Happen Again?" the talk-show diva cries as she soars past 200 pounds and 1.4 million subscribers. She may not know a good diet, but she certainly knows the recipe for success, and it's one cleverly borrowed by Tiffany Baker in her first novel, "The Little... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"The Little Giant of Aberdeen County grabs you from its astonishing beginning to its riveting conclusion. Its charms are multitude — a wholly unique love story, a devastating friendship, a bewitching multi-generational history, all brought to an apex in the larger-than-life personage of Truly, a heroine simultaneously infused with a quiet and dignified grace and peculiar sense of purpose. This dark-yet-rollicking debut is a must-read." Sara Gruen

Review:

"A beautiful, startling and wholly original novel, LGOAC is infused with magic, lush language, and surprises on every page. Tiffany Baker has given us a flawed, prickly, enchanting heroine in Truly — part Cinderella, part Witch, part Behemoth. In their timeless story of small town life, the boundary between reality and fairy tale does not exist, and happy endings are possible but hard-won. This book is a treasure." Stephanie Kallos

Review:

"[An] unforgettable heroine with a story that begs to be read and read again. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[I]nfused with moments of magic realism....[T]he novel charms and will find a devoted audience." Boolist

Review:

"[T]he kind of book you find yourself stealing time from workday chores to read." USA Today

Review:

"One of the beauties of Little Giant is that Baker never reveals how big Truly really is — her weight and height are not given. So Truly shrinks and grows in the reader's imagination, like a genie in a fairy story." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"Baker has crafted a book big enough to hold her title character, and few readers would be churlish enough to begrudge Truly a happily-ever-after." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"Baker enters Alice Hoffman territory in this parable about beauty and ugliness, meanness and mercy and magic, and does it with considerable dark humor." Hartford Courant

Review:

"[This] captivating debut has all the hallmarks of the Southern Gothic." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"You'll never look at a larger-than-normal person the same way after getting to know Truly." Dallas Morning News

Synopsis:

In this family saga, unearthed secrets lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually breaks the Morgan family apart forever. However, one woman's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.

About the Author

Tiffany Baker is the author of The Gilly Salt Sisters and The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, which was a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She holds an MFA (creative writing) and a PhD (Victorian Literature) from UC Irvine, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Cinnamon, June 7, 2010 (view all comments by Cinnamon)
Everyone knows that it's difficult to be different. Our society hasn't historically embraced differences, although in some ways we are getting better. Some places, however, still embrace the idea of sameness and for a girl growing up different, a life here can be miserable.

In THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY by Tiffany Baker, Truly Plaice and her sister Serena Jane differ from each other just about as much as two people can. Serena Jane is beautiful, graceful and elegant. Truly Plaice is literally a giant, her body growing out of control. Shunned by the town since birth, Truly has to carry the weight of her strangeness with the burden of self-doubt and blame. When she and her sister are separated and sent to different homes, Serena is sent to live in the lap of luxury while Truly goes to live on a broken down farm. Trust me when I say that for a long time, she did not lead a happy life.

There were both things to love and things I wish would have been slightly different in THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY. For one, I wish her medical condition would have been explained a bit more. I still feel a little fuzzy on the details. What I did love, however, was the plot twists and turns within the story. I didn't expect this story to be a complex one; rather, I thought it would be a nice, simple read. Fortunatley I was mistaken. Ms. Baker instills this book with an assortment of different plot points and pieces of character development that keep the reader interested from the first page all the way through to the last. Truly was a great heroine and one that we were really able to delve into. Ms. Baker allowed us to explore the inner workings of her mind which proved to be just as entertaining as the rest of the story.

Serena Jane was, well, Serena. She didn't particularly stand out much to me as a character, which is odd since I really considered her to be one of the two main characters are the beginning. She does play her part to move the plot forward though. I think I would have liked to see a little more depth from her though.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a different book. Combining some thoughts on the more depressing side of society with just a hint of fantasy, THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY is great for those readers looking to escape into something and occupy their minds for a while. I don't know that I would necessarily recommend this to a casual reader, however. Some of the text can get a little bogged down and while Ms. Baker's writing and descriptions are beautiful, there are times when you really need to focus and visualize what is happening in order to stay within the story.
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Krista Smith-Moroziuk, July 28, 2009 (view all comments by Krista Smith-Moroziuk)
Tiffany Baker is a name to remember. A fantastic debut piece of original literature. Under her pen her characters, and this world of Aberdeen County come to life.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446194204
Author:
Baker, Tiffany
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Subject:
Tall women
Subject:
General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100125
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 x 1 in 0.7 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County Used Hardcover
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$4.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9780446194204 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In Tiffany Baker's debut novel we meet the kind-hearted Truly Plaice. Massive from birth, growing into a 400-pound giant, Truly strives to be normal in a world in which she literally and figuratively does not fit. Truly's strength of virtue comes out when she steps into the role of surrogate mother to her estranged sister's young son. She endures daily verbal abuse from her egotistical brother-in-law, the town's only doctor, in order to provide a loving home environment to her growing nephew. In the doctor's home she uncovers a quilt that contains the key to the folklore rumors that have rested with the townsfolk in her rural upstate New York community. The knowledge the quilt contains gives Truly the power of life and death and leads her to discover her own inner strength and dignity. Baker's descriptive writing flows naturally through this complex story that does not disappoint.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Baker's bangup debut mixes the exuberant eccentricities of John Irving's Garp, Anne Tyler's relationship savvy and the plangent voice of Margaret Atwood. In an upstate New York backwater, Truly, massive from birth, has a bleak existence with her depressed father and her china-doll — like sister, Serena Jane. Truly grows at an astonishing rate — her girth the result of a pituitary gland problem — and after her father dies when Truly is 12, Truly is sloughed off to the Dyersons, a hapless farming family. Her outsize kindness surfaces as she befriends the Dyersons' outcast daughter, Amelia, and later leaves her beloved Dyerson farm to take care of Serena Jane's husband and son after Serena Jane leaves them. Haunting the margins of Truly's story is that of Tabitha Dyerson, a rumored witch whose secrets afford a breathtaking role reversal for Truly. It's got all the earmarks of a hit — infectious and lovable narrator, a dash of magic, an impressive sweep and a heartrending but not treacly family drama. It'll be a shame if this doesn't race up the bestseller lists." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The Little Giant of Aberdeen County grabs you from its astonishing beginning to its riveting conclusion. Its charms are multitude — a wholly unique love story, a devastating friendship, a bewitching multi-generational history, all brought to an apex in the larger-than-life personage of Truly, a heroine simultaneously infused with a quiet and dignified grace and peculiar sense of purpose. This dark-yet-rollicking debut is a must-read."
"Review" by , "A beautiful, startling and wholly original novel, LGOAC is infused with magic, lush language, and surprises on every page. Tiffany Baker has given us a flawed, prickly, enchanting heroine in Truly — part Cinderella, part Witch, part Behemoth. In their timeless story of small town life, the boundary between reality and fairy tale does not exist, and happy endings are possible but hard-won. This book is a treasure."
"Review" by , "[An] unforgettable heroine with a story that begs to be read and read again. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "[I]nfused with moments of magic realism....[T]he novel charms and will find a devoted audience."
"Review" by , "[T]he kind of book you find yourself stealing time from workday chores to read."
"Review" by , "One of the beauties of Little Giant is that Baker never reveals how big Truly really is — her weight and height are not given. So Truly shrinks and grows in the reader's imagination, like a genie in a fairy story."
"Review" by , "Baker has crafted a book big enough to hold her title character, and few readers would be churlish enough to begrudge Truly a happily-ever-after."
"Review" by , "Baker enters Alice Hoffman territory in this parable about beauty and ugliness, meanness and mercy and magic, and does it with considerable dark humor."
"Review" by , "[This] captivating debut has all the hallmarks of the Southern Gothic."
"Review" by , "You'll never look at a larger-than-normal person the same way after getting to know Truly."
"Synopsis" by , In this family saga, unearthed secrets lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually breaks the Morgan family apart forever. However, one woman's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.
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