Friday, April 1, 2011

Literary Friday: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

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This week I read The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker.  The unusual heroine in this book is Truly Plaice.  She is renowned in her small town of Aberdeen, New York even before she is born.  The whole town is speculating on Truly's weight and on what kind of amazing athlete he would become because surely a woman carrying so large a baby must be having a boy!  On the day Truly's mother goes into labor, the whole town arrives on the Plaice's front lawn for the birth.  The atmosphere is like a town picnic or celebration: folks bring food, yummy desserts, and raucously place bets on the baby's weight.  But when Truly's mother dies during the birth, the town solemnly slinks away with the news that the child is a girl, and the mother is dead.

Truly is obviously some kind of giant (the book does not give too many details on this), and she has an older sister who looks like an angel on earth named Serena Jane.  Later in childhood, the girls' father dies and Serena Jane goes to live with the minister and his wife where she is treated like a princess; Truly is sent to live in poverty on the Dyerson's pitiful farm.  Serena Jane's beauty makes her the town's May Queen and the obsession with the town's doctor's son, Bob Bob Morgan. Events resulting from this obsession bind Bob Bob and Truly together for many years to come.

All the Morgan men have been doctors since the Civil War (the action of this book begins in the early nineteen fifties).  When the first Robert Morgan comes to Aberdeen and marries a witch, the town is hesitant to allow Dr. Morgan to treat them, preferring Tabitha's herbs and "witchery" to his modern medicine. Upon Tabitha's death, many fear that her centuries-old shadow book has been lost forever. One of my favorite parts of the book is how Truly finds Tabitha's shadow book.  I am not crazy about how she uses it, however most readers will probably disagree with me.

This book has many elements which make it a great read: the characters are very interesting and complicated; although predictable in a few places, there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged; there is also wonderful conflict between magic and medicine; and Truly's capacity to forgive in the face of betrayal is even larger than she is. The love story is one of the most unique in literature, and I think that Truly is a heroine whose story is timely and timeless. There are a few episodes in the novel where I lose sympathy for Truly, and I actually began not to care about her fate.  But in retrospect, I was probably judging her too harshly because I so badly want her to be happy and make choices for her own betterment.  It is hard for me to believe that The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is a debut novel, but it is. I look forward to more great reads from Tiffany Baker.

Until next time...

Happy Reading!
Ricki Jill

7 comments:

  1. Ricki great review and one I will have to read!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  2. Ricki,volevo mandarti un abbracci ed un saluto,complimenti per i tuoi post,Rosetta

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  3. Thanks for the review! I think I'll have to read this one.

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  4. You do such a great job at reviewing Ricki!
    I remember seeing this one at the book store..it caught my eye. Sounds quite interesting.
    What's with the name Bob Bob though?!!

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  5. Hi Richi, how are you?I'm destroyed, today I went to Florence to pick up my daughter who is studying there.Go and return all in an afternoon ... I have basically only seen the terrible traffic of this beautiful city ... I hope to get better next time ..Kisses,Annalisa

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  6. Alright, one more book to add to the list (which numbers over 200 now). Thanks. ;)

    (My local library is having a hard time keeping up!)

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  7. Okay, okay, I am going to sit down and finish my book on the weekend. :) You are such an inspiration...and a darn good book reviewer too!

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