Friday, May 15, 2009

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

Book: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Author: Tiffany Baker
Like/Don't Like: I liked it in a different way than I expected.

For some reason I was expecting something entirely different. More quirky small townish. But this book is a whole lot more than that. It had a much darker, earthier feel to it that I found surprising and really enjoyable.

First a brief synopsis: Truly Plaic is Aberdeen's largest resident and she's been tormented about it her whole like. She was born abnormally large and just continued to get bigger. And she grew up in a time when it was apparently okay to say, "You're fat and ugly," because she got that a lot. Over the course of events Truly ends up living at her brother-in-law's house raising her nephew after her sister left them. Her brother-in-law, Robert Morgan, is the town doctor and is as cruel as they come and a lot of the tragedy that has been a part of Truly's life, and the lives of her two closest friends, has a lot to do with him. The plot weaves around how they deal with those tragedies and come to grips with the lives they've been given.

I appreciated a lot of things about this book, particularly how flawed the characters were. Truly was bitter and vengeful towards the town and Robert Morgan for almost the entire book and while it made her a little hard to love it was also a very honest take on how things really are. People hold grudges, even fictional ones. I loved the character of Marcus, one of Truly's friends, who is a great foil to her. He has plenty of reason to be just as bitter but he manages to make the most of his rough life. Robert Morgan is a great bad guy - an enormous jerk - but he also shows a hints of humanity every once in a while.

I did have some minor problems with it. For one thing, it's dripping with metaphors and foreshadowing and it kind of got in the way of story. It also made the ending a little anti-climactic because you saw it coming a mile away. And for another, I thought the choice of the 1st person perspective was odd because there were so many stories to be told. Truly was the voice but she was telling things about other people, feelings and details, that she would never have known. I kept wondering if we were going to find out that she was a witch at the end of it (which would not be farfetched in this story). I realize that this is just literary license but it was kind of distracting to me.

But the story was worth it. The first part of the book was a little on the slow side but after that it picks right up and sucks you in.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.