The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

( 42 )

Overview

In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers and in stores.

Pick Up In Store Near You

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (35) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $1.99   
  • Used (29) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(755)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
*~*~ Brand New, Mint Condition. Never Previously Owned.*~*~ Ships Immediately *~*~ Hassle-Free Refunds If you Aren't Fully Satisfied ~*~*

Ships from: Deer Park, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(755)

Condition: New
*~*~ Brand New, Mint Condition. Never Previously Owned.*~*~ Ships Immediately *~*~ Hassle-Free Refunds If you Aren't Fully Satisfied ~*~*

Ships from: Deer Park, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.00
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(606)

Condition: New
New Hardcover. Textbook Only. First Edition Ships same or next day. Expedited shipping takes 2-3 business days; standard shipping takes 4-14 business days.

Ships from: Fayetteville, AR

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$3.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: New
Brand New

Ships from: Las Cruces, NM

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$3.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: New
Brand New Condition. Ships the next day.

Ships from: Las Cruces, NM

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(148)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.
 
“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”
 
She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.

Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie’s spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours.

Read More Show Less
  • The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump, the diminutive wife of Gen. Tom Thumb, narrates her life story in this vivaciousfictionalized autobiography that takes her from a small New Englandtown to a seedy Mississippi showboat and eventuallyinto the entourage of the impresario P.T. Barnum. Born withproportionate dwarfism, Vinnie, a "perfect woman in miniature," rejects a career as a schoolteacher in favor of showbusiness, eventually finding an intellectual soul mate in Barnum andinternational fame that leads her into the opulence of New Yorksociety and meetings with heads of state from theWhite House to Europe and India. Benjamin (Alice I HaveBeen) centers the latter half of her tale around Vinnie and Barnum'sodd-couple friendship and touchy businessrelationship, sometimes glossing frustratingly over Vinnie'sown adventures—a three-year tour of Australia and Asia isgiven only a few pages—and leaving the last 40 yearsof her life untold. But the smart and unyieldingly ladylikeVinnie emerges as an effervescent narrator with a love of life and a grand story worth the price of admission. (July)
Library Journal
This follow-up to Benjamin's Alice I Have Been is loosely based on the life of Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump, who married world-famous "little person" Charles Stratton (aka Gen. Tom Thumb). Benjamin tells Vinnie's story from her upbringing in a modest but proud Massachusetts family to her early forays into show business on a seedy riverboat to her eventual fame and fortune as one of P.T. Barnum's popular attractions. In an essentially arranged marriage, she reserves her emotional intimacy for Barnum and her sister Minnie, with tragic results. VERDICT Vinnie's first-person narration grabs you from the opening pages, providing hints of the absorbing and entertaining story to come. The novel is also a delightful cavalcade of late 19th-century Americana, as you travel with Vinnie up and down the Mississippi, head westward via the expanding railroad, and hobnob with New York's rich and famous. Those interested in "behind the scenes" of show business will be equally entranced. [See Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
Yvonne Zipp
…Benjamin…knows how to combine research and readability. And she's given Vinnie such dignity and courage…that her heroine commands attention from the first page.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher

“By turns heartrending and thrilling, this bighearted novel recounts the life of an extraordinary woman in lush, meticulously researched prose. I loved it!”—Sara Gruen
 
“[Melanie Benjamin] knows how to combine research and readability. And she’s given Vinnie such dignity and courage . . . that her heroine commands attention from the first page.”—The Washington Post

“Remarkable, soaring . . . a spellbinding tale . . . a fascinating story of triumph and tragedy and one person who refused to live a small life.”—BookPage
 
“Melanie Benjamin enfolds the reader in the intimate world of Lavinia Warren Stratton, better known as Mrs. Tom Thumb, [whose] voice is unflinching. . . . That the characters have faults and regrets, as well as hope, adds to the veracity of the novel.”—The Denver Post
 
“A narrative voice that is feisty, intelligent, brave, adventurous, and resourceful.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Grabs you from the opening pages, providing hints of the absorbing and entertaining story to come . . . a delightful cavalcade of late nineteenth-century Americana.”—Library Journal

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385344159
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.98 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin is a pseudonym for Melanie Hauser, the author of two contemporary novels. Her first work of historical fiction as Melanie Benjamin was Alice I Have Been. She lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

ONE

My Childhood, or the Early Life of a Tiny

I will begin my story in the conventional way, with my ancestry.

About the unfortunately named Bumps, I have little to say other than they were hardworking people of French descent who somehow felt that shortening "Bonpasse" to "Bump" was an improvement.

With some pride, however, I can trace my pedigree on my mother's side back through Richard Warren of the Mayflower Company, to William, Earl of Warren, who married Gundreda, daughter of William the Conqueror. This is as far back as I have followed my lineage, but I trust it will suffice. Certainly Mr. Barnum, when he first heard it, was quite astonished, and never failed to mention it to the Press!

I was born on 31 October, 1841, on the family farm in Middleborough, Massachusetts, to James and Huldah Bump. Most people cannot contain their surprise when I tell them that I was, in fact, the usual size and weight. Indeed, when the ceremonial weighing of the newborn was completed, I tipped the scales at precisely six pounds!

My entrance into the family was preceded by three siblings, two male and one female, and was followed by another three, two male and one female. All were of ordinary stature except my younger sister, Minnie, born in 1849.

I am told that I grew normally during the first year of my life, then suddenly stopped. My parents didn't notice it at first, but I cannot fault them for that. Who, when having been already blessed with three children, still has the time or interest to pay much attention to the fourth? My dear mother told me that it wasn't until I was nearly two years old that they realized I was still wearing the same clothes—clothes that should already have been outgrown, cleaned and pressed, and laid in the trunk for the next baby. It was only then that my parents grew somewhat alarmed; studying me carefully, they saw that I was maturing in the way of most children—standing, talking, displaying an increased interest in my surroundings. The only thing I was not doing was growing.

They took me to a physician, who appraised me, measured me, poked me. "I cannot offer any physical explanation for this," he informed my worried parents. "The child seems to be perfectly normal, except for her size. Keep an eye on her, and come back in a year's time. But be prepared for the possibility that she might be just one example of God's unexplainable whims, or fancies. She may be the only one I've seen, but I've certainly heard of others like her. In fact, there's one over in Rochester I've been meaning to go see. Heard he can play the violin, even. Astounding."

My parents did not share his enthusiasm for the violin-playing, unexplainable Divine whim. They carried me to another physician in the next town over, who, being a less pious man than the previous expert, explained that I represented "an excellent example of Nature's Occasional Mistakes." He assured my increasingly distressed parents that this was not a bad thing, for it made the world a much more interesting place, just as the occasional two-headed toad and one-eyed kitten did.

In despair, my parents whisked me back home, where they prayed and prayed over my tiny body. Yet no plea to the Almighty would induce me to grow; by my tenth birthday I reached only twenty-four inches and weighed twenty pounds. By this time my parents had welcomed my sister Minnie into the world; when she displayed the same reluctance to grow as I had, they did not take her to any physicians. They simply loved her, as they had always loved me.

"Vinnie," my mother was fond of telling me (Lavinia being the name by which I was called, shortened within the family to Vinnie), "it's not that you're too small, my little chick, but rather that the world is too big."

My poor, tenderhearted mother! She thought that she was reassuring me. She was a lovely, pious creature, tall and thin, a clean, starched apron constantly about her waist. She had shining brown hair that I inherited, slightly worried brown eyes, and an ever-patient smile upon her lips. She only wanted me to be happy, to be safe; she wanted to keep me home, where she was certain less harm could come to me. She was trying, in her simple way, to reconcile me to that future, the only future that she—or anyone else—could envision for one my size.

What she didn't understand was that she was only inciting my curiosity about that big world. Everything was bigger than me; if the world was so much larger that she had to constantly warn me of it, what wonders did it contain? What marvels? I could not understand why anyone would not want to see them.

My father never tried to fool me in this way. He was not a demonstrative man, but around me, and then around Minnie, who was even smaller, he was extremely reticent. I believe he was terrified he might crush us with his big, work-worn hands, so he did not touch us at all, not a pat or a hug. He never seemed able to understand why God had made Minnie and me so small, and I believe he was slightly ashamed of us. Whenever we were out together as a family, he always kept his head bent; this way, he did not have to look anyone in the eye. I'm not sure he completely understood why he did this, or what he was afraid to encounter in the gaze of his fellow man; perhaps he simply didn't want to see pity for us there—or for himself.

Yet he loved us. And in the way of most men, he reacted by trying to solve us, as if we were the one wagon wheel that stubbornly refused to match up with the others, causing the whole contraption to wobble. This took the form of practicality, which, in the end, was much more useful than Mama's clucking and soothing. My first memory was of my father presenting me with a set of wooden steps, lovingly made by his own hands, which were too clumsy for caresses. They had crafted a beautiful set of steps, however, sanded to a honeyed glow so that not a single splinter might puncture a tender, tiny foot. They were lightweight, a miracle of engineering, so that I could easily carry them with me wherever I went.

Later, after the fire, Mr. Barnum gave me a gorgeous set of steps covered in crushed red velvet with my initials embroidered upon them. But they have never been able to take the place of my father's simple gift.

My brothers and sister swooped and ran and carried on like all children, happily including Minnie and me in their play, not worrying very much about whether or not we could keep up. And we could—or rather, I could. Unlike me, Minnie was content with her small corner of the world; she knew she could not easily keep up with the others, so she didn't even try. She found happiness, instead, in what was easily within her reach; no stair steps for her! She spent hours playing with her dolls, sitting on her little stool by the hearth, sewing handkerchiefs or helping Mama prepare meals. She was very shy around others and felt their stares keenly, even though she was as beautiful as a china figurine. Minnie was blessed with impish dark eyes that were such a contrast to her bashful demeanor, black curls, and a smile that revealed one perfect dimple in her left cheek. Only with me, closest to her in size but still larger, able to protect her, did she ever sometimes show curiosity or boldness; once she surprised me by suggesting we creep outside in the middle of the night, to see if there really were fairies living beneath the flowers.

Amused, I took her outside, where we tiptoed, hand in hand, peeking under the forget-me-nots and ferns. While she lifted leaves and petals with dogged optimism, stifling an occasional squeal whenever she happened upon a frog or a startled rabbit, I found my gaze pulled upward. The moon was low and luminous in the night sky; cocking my head, I was just about to make out the face of the man in the moon when Minnie excitedly exclaimed, "Oh, look, Sister! I found one, with green wings!"

She tugged at my sleeve, and I bent down. "It's just a dragonfly," I told her.

"No, it's a fairy, don't you see?"

"I just see a sleepy dragonfly."

"You're not looking at it right, Vinnie. It's as beautiful as a fairy, all green and shimmery. Can't you see it?"

I looked at my sister, her eyes shining brighter than the moon above. Who would have the heart to contradict her?

Growing up, Minnie listened, much more closely than I, to Mama's worries about our safety. Horses were Mama's chief foes; she feared, as long as she lived, that Minnie or I would be trampled or kicked by a stray hoof.

On our behalf, she also feared wells, rain barrels, unsteady tables, large dogs, poison left out for the rats (even after I had long passed the age where I could reasonably be expected not to eat it), doors that latched, broken window sashes, snowdrifts, and falling fireplace logs.

I never understood her terrors. Safe, to me, was exactly where I was; low to the ground, where I became more acquainted with the bottoms of things than the tops. For example, I grew very adept at judging a woman's character or station in life by the hem of her skirt. Tiny, too-perfect stitches or ornate ruffles of course denoted a woman of high class, although not necessarily one of good character. Sloppy, loose, or haphazard stitches didn't always mean that a woman was slovenly in appearance; more often than not, it simply meant that she had so many children and cares she could not spare the time to attend to her own clothing. Those whose skirts sported tiny handprints or burnt patches resulting from too much time in front of the kitchen fire were always the most kindhearted.

Skirts were not the only things with which I was acquainted. Naturally I was more familiar with flowers and weeds than the tops of trees; furniture legs and the unfinished undersides of tables than framed pictures or mirrors. And that is why I never was fearful, why I could not understand my mother's worries; the things with which I was most familiar were the sturdier, more substantial things in life. The legs of the table, the widest part of the tree trunk, the foundation of the house, the things upon which everything else was dependent, upon which everything else was built. These were my world.

What my mother feared most—even more than tables toppling over on either Minnie or myself—was other children.

While she dutifully brought us to church each Sunday, our Christian education ever in her thoughts, my mother was most reluctant to send me to school with my brothers and sister. Fearing merciless teasing, rough play with children who were not accustomed to one my size, she thought it would be best to educate me at home, herself.

I, however, did not share this belief. I'd heard my siblings talk of the wonders of school, of slates and lunch buckets and schoolyard games and the glories of being asked to stay after to wash the blackboard. They came home taunting me with their knowledge, singing multiplication tables and spelling enormous words and pointing to the odd shapes on the globe in the parlor, proudly telling me the names of the continents and oceans.

So when I heard my mother tell my father she thought it best that I stay home with her and the younger children, I stamped my foot with as much authority as a seven-year-old can muster.

"No, Mama, you must allow me to go to school! Aren't I as smart as my brothers and sister? Why shouldn't I go with them, now that I'm old enough? They will look out for me, if that's what you fear."

Mama started to protest, but to my surprise, my father interrupted her.

"Huldah, I am surprised to admit it, but I agree with our Vinnie. She's a sharp little thing, with an intelligence that must be fueled. You could not give her all she needs here. Let her satisfy her curiosity at school, for a life of books is likely all the life she will ever have. It's best we give her that now. She'll have the rest of her days, I'm afraid, to stay home with you."

I was too young to fully understand my father's meaning. I heard only that he wanted me to go to school, and that was all I needed; I threw my arms about him even though I knew he did not appreciate such demonstrations.

"Oh, Papa, I am so very happy! Thank you! I promise I will never make you regret your decision!"

It would be a pretty story, indeed, if I could say that I never did! Yet I have to admit that I was so eager to be allowed my first foray into that large world that I became rather mischievous.

Full of high spirits, so delighted to be where I was, at first I could not be induced to remain in my seat. At the time, you might recall, country school desks were one long table affixed to the perimeter of the room, three-quarters of the way around.

On a dare, I discovered that I was small enough to fit neatly underneath the desk without having to duck my head; basking in the approval of my schoolmates, I took it a step further. Whenever the schoolteacher's back was to us, I would slide off my perch—several large books piled on top of one another—and duck beneath the desk. Then I would run along, barely stifling my giggles as I pinched and poked at my schoolmates' legs: the little girls' sensible woolen pantalets, the boys' worn and patched knees. I was so nimble that they could not catch me; I could run around the entire room and reach the end of the desk almost before the first child had reacted to my lively tugs with a squeak or a squeal.

"Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump," Mr. Dunbar, our teacher, would sputter. "Sit back down immediately!" He would try to catch me, but being the imp that I was, I could elude his grasp easily; he was inclined to heaviness (from the many tarts and pies that the older female students showered upon him), and would flail about, breathing laboriously. By the time he straightened himself up, his face red, his oily hair hanging down upon his forehead, I would be sitting primly in my seat, seemingly oblivious to my classmates' giggles.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A big story in a small package

    Author Melanie Benjamin immersed herself in autobiographies of Lavinia Warren Bump Scratton and P.T. Barnum, and created a fictional biography based on lots of truth and fact.

    Lavinia was born normal-sized, but quit growing (or drastically slowed her growth) around one-year of age, and at her full height she stood only 32 inches high. She may have been small in stature, but she was not small in personality. Never content to remain at home and lead a quiet, simple life, Lavinia always dreamed of seeing the world. And thanks to showman P.T. Barnum, that's exactly what she does over her roller-coaster career of ups and downs.

    During her years with Barnum, a friendship builds, and sometimes it is for him that does things of which she may not agree with or be proud. Eventually she marries General Tom Thumb (aka Charles Stratton), taking on what becomes her most famous role as "Mrs. Tom Thumb".

    Her husband Charles Stratton was for me perhaps the most real and believable character in the book, although at times quite unlikable given his "weak" personality. Raised by Barnum from childhood, he was molded into a character that he himself began to believe, never quite recognizing he didn't fit into society and was always something of a farce.

    P.T. Barnum is always a showman, and always looking for a way to turn something into a headline, even if it means exploiting friends. However there is a genuine friendship between him and both Lavinia and Charles.

    Lavinia's little sister (and when I say "little", I mean both in age and height. Minnie was only 27 inches tall) seems weak and simple and perpetually frightened through most of the book. It isn't until later that you begin to question whether perhaps she was actually the strongest of them all.

    Well-written and engaging, this book was able to hold me to the end. However there was something about it that bugged me. I've tried to figure it out, and the only word that continually comes to mind is "pretentious" in regards to Lavinia. But despite this being a little off-putting for me, I still enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and a "novel" novel!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    Great reading, love the history intervoven with the storyline - gave me good visuals as I read. I do wish Nook Color would add accompanying photos or artwork with the book, all I've ever seen is the cover art.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Read

    Very interesting read. Love how it's based on a real person and real events. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Heart Warming and Heart Wrenching

    She may have been born normal size (tipping the scales at 6 lbs!), Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, aka Vinnie, quite growing after her first year. She matured in all ways but in height but she more than made up for that by living larger than life and never letting her size keep her from seeing the world. The only thing she didn't allow herself was love. Even though she married Mr. Tom Thumb it was a marriage of convenience and she never let herself fall in love with him or let him know her as a husband should. Heart-warming and heart-wrenching all folded into one this story will take you on a journey of the soul and heart.

    I was swept up in Vinnie's adventures and tribulations. From her early years as a schoolteacher to her harrowing escape from the squirmy Colonel Wood all the way to her time with the P.T. Barnum we become invested in Vinnie's life. She was always reaching for the next big thing. Her overprotective manner to her sister Minnie comes out of fear of what Vinnie herself won't allow herself to experience and when Minnie sets out on her own we see the vulnerability that hasn't before been allowed to surface in Vinnie. In the end P.T. Barnum said it well with this:

    "And Minnie-she's different than you, no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. She isn't you, because she's happy. And you're not."pg.~333

    I would recommend this book for all historical fiction lovers. The contents of this book will have you flipping pages to see what Minnie will do next. It will also bring you joy and tears (yes..the tears flowed freely). I will definitely be reading other books by Melanie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 23, 2011

    A little Icon made fresh for a new generation!

    Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump Stratton or 'Vinnie' to her friends and family was an actual woman in history standing a mere 32 inches tall. Prior to reading this novel I hadn't heard Mrs. Tom Thumb. What a delight to learn about her rich history and character through Melanie Benjamin's autobiographical novel. Wow does that seem like a conflict of terms. Vinnie had hoped to write an autobiography of her life, and had taken notes and written journals toward that goal. Her dream was not fulfilled and credit goes to Melanie Benjamin for bringing Vinnie's story to light.

    As a 'dwarf' she had quite the difficult life just trying to see eye to eye with the world. She was a feisty gal though and by age 16 she was the school marm at the local school after having exceeded at her own schooling. Colonel Wood, a man with dollar signs in his eyes lures Vinnie away under the pretense of her performing and making a big name for herself, only to find herself working on a river boat with other 'misfits'. The world was not kind and Vinnie soon found many reasons that she should have stayed home with her family and her one sister Minnie who was the same size as she.

    The Civil War ended Vinnie's dreadful showcase and she was able to return home. Still discontent with the boringness of living in a small town she wrote to PT Barnum in the hopes of joining his troupe. She ended up meeting with him, and found in him a friend and confident as well as a true artist in his field. Through Mr. Barnum she met her future husband Charles Stratton, or Mr. Tom Thumb. Another miniature person their marriage appeared to be a match made in heaven, but was in appearance only.
    Never quite content with her fame, and her size it seemed Vinnie missed out on just living.

    This was an exciting story with great historical facts and descriptions. Melanie Benjamin brings an old icon into new light for a new generation. It has been fun to meet Vinnie and get to know her and her sister Minnie, one having fame and not fully living, the other to learning contentment and happiness. I loved the relationship dynamics and how Vinnie was able to interact with such an array of characters as she made her debut. The characters were vivid and real and it did indeed feel as if we were reading a true autobiography.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Beautifully written historical fiction!

    There are some books that you just hate to see come to an end. For me, this is one of them. Learning what life was like for 32 inch Vinnie during one of the most fascinating times in our country's history is historical fiction at its best. Ms Benjamin lets you see through the eyes of a woman who was ahead of her time and determined to be treated with dignity and respect by all who knew her. Rich writing vivid in detail make this a novel I won't soon forget and will highly recommend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    AMUSING

    I know it wasn't true, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Couldn't put it down. I recommend it for enjoyable light reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    OutCast

    &#8643OutCast&#8642 , no nickname
    <p>
    Age- Two weeks since warrior so... Xq Sixteen moons.
    <p>
    &female
    <p>
    Rank- Warrior/Queen
    <p>
    Appearance- A pure, crisp white she cat with long legs and tail. Her belly curves and she has fresh scratches. Her eyes are intimidating, bl<.>ood red, creepy. She blends with snow perfectly.
    <p>
    Personality- Not afraid to jump into battle to help someone else. Will ki<..>ll anyone if they get between her and her new family. Hates wolves and heights since she was a kit.
    <p>
    Mate/Crush- DeepThorn and will remain DeepThorn. T.T
    <p>
    Kits- Expecting in half a moon. [Due tomarrow night]
    <p>
    History- Don't ask. EVER. T.T
    <p>
    Kin- See history.
    <p>
    Other- Nope. Got nothin' else.
    <p>
    Themesong(s)- Ready Aim Fire by Imagine Dragons, SAIL by Awolnation, and Monster by Eminem!!!! &hearts those bands!!!
    <p>
    Signature- &#8643&#8642 incorporated in some way.
    <p>
    This took a while. So appreciate it!!! I DON'T HEAR CLAPPING!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Badgerslash 囎

    Name: Isnt it obvious?

    Mate: None

    Kits: None

    Crush: I do have one, but its kinda personal

    Looks: Black she cat with white tipped ears, a white front paw, green eyes, well built.

    Kin: Deathclaw(sister), Iceheart(mother), Blood(father)

    Personality:fun,energetic,and deadly

    Other: she has a bad history

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    DeepThorn Bio -{as of 12/23/13}-

    &star DeepThorn &star
    <p> Age- uh.....let's just say as old as OutCast
    <p> Gender- oh uh...idk. TOM [ya id<_>iot]
    <p> Rank- elite warrior :D
    <p> Looks- this tom for sure looks intimitating. His pelt is a sleek, muscular, deep brown, so dark....you can consider it a mud covered black. Though his pelt is dark, his eyes are not. they blaze on a brilliant amber, like moonlight candles. His back has a scar running from mid-back to his shoulder from attacking a wolf [btw- he rocked and won the fight.]
    <p> Personality- his pers make him one u don't wanna piss off. He is quite attentive to comments, anything even hunted against him or his ma<_>te can set him off. Because of that, he is also protective. Although is his protective, he has a soft spot for kits and is fairly gentle and playful around them. In battle, he really doesn't care. You touch his family..... you di<_>e.
    <p> Crush/ Ma<_>te- OutCast [ever since an app]
    <p> Kits- excpecting.....
    <p> Family- all is unknown for him. Flaming, [or was it Blockade] took him in as a kit.
    <p> Other- obviously, he cares for OutCast ad will ki<_>ll himself if it means she lives

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2013

    Read for book club and enjoyed it!

    This was a book chosen for discussion and not normally one I would have picked up on my own. The author did a fine job of writing from Vinnie's point of view and really made the characters come alive.

    Kudos on the research and a wonderful book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Very readable.

    This book is very readable but I think a lot of her "life" was made up. It's difficult to separate fact from fiction. However, she was an interesting person.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2013

    I so loved this book!!! A great read about a smart woman with a

    I so loved this book!!! A great read about a smart woman with a disability. Couldn't put it down!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 9, 2012

    Easy read.

    This novel, which I think is based on true life, was a very easy read for a rather long book. I enjoyed it very much. We read it for our book club that meets this week. It was a great summer read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb By Melanie Benjamin At two

    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
    By Melanie Benjamin

    At two foot eight inches Mercy Lavinia Bump is the perfect miniature woman. She started out as a school teacher then when she was seventeen she was approached to travel on a boat as a performer, with this first taste of fame she would continue on to become an icon during a time of great unrest. This is a fictional autobiography of the woman who became Mrs. Tom Thumb half of the perfect miniature couple.

    I almost didn&rsquo;t make it through this book; the author takes an interesting story and turns it into something dull and annoying. I say annoying due to the fact that Melanie Benjamin turned Lavinia Bump into an egotistical arrogant woman who thought every other little person, including her husband and sister, to be less intelligent than she was. Then there is the main dilemma of the novel which, with a quite glance at wikipedia you will find out what it is, turns out to be absolutely ludicrous. To add to these issues is the fact that Lavinia never loved Tom Thumb but actually P.T. Barnum and never even consummated her wedding, I find this entirely too hard to believe. Melanie Benjamin may be a good writer but this story turned out to be rubbish, and what was with the rant about the polygamist Mormons? Skip it and try google.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Very Interesting

    I really did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did! This book is one I didn't want to put down. Excellent writing and very interesting characters. I highly recommend this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Need more by this author!

    This was an outstanding book I could not put down. The adventure was wonderful and exciting, but not as wonderful and exciting as the love story hidden within. The love story builds slowly and will shock you in the end!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Really interesting

    This book showed a side of the characters you didn't expect. It was a easy read and kept your interest. It gave you a time line showing what was going on in the world during the life of the characters, thus giving the reader an insight to how they thought. This book inspired me to read Alice I Have Been by the same author...another book with a unique twist.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2012

    Higly recommend - I couldn't put it down!

    What a fasinating and amazing story!
    The kind of book you'd like to see made into a movie.
    The author's style kept me turning the pages faster and faster to see what great adventure the little heroine would have next!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Interesting Read

    Not as wonderful as Alice I Have Been. There were moments that brought tears to my eyes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)