With an original story and wholly-realized characters, this novel shines. Truly Plaice (the giant of the title) is an unsettling mix of martyr, saint, and witch. She navigates life from her less-than-perfect body, using her ancestors' knowledge of magic as she sees fit. Truly is a one-of-a-kind heroine that will stay with you long after you close this astonishing novel. An amazing feat for a first time novelist. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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.)
"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
"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
"[An] unforgettable heroine with a story that begs to be read and read again. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"[I]nfused with moments of magic realism....[T]he novel charms and will find a devoted audience." Boolist
"[T]he kind of book you find yourself stealing time from workday chores to read." USA Today
"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
"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
"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
"[This] captivating debut has all the hallmarks of the Southern Gothic." Charlotte Observer
"You'll never look at a larger-than-normal person the same way after getting to know Truly." Dallas Morning News
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.