The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

3.9 102
by Tiffany Baker

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When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly 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… See more details below


When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly 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 femine 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Ron Charles
Baker knows how to spin an alluring plot, and she tells this emotional story in a lush voice that's spiked with just a taste of self-pity. She has a good sense of the dark comedy of melodrama, too, even if Truly's words of wisdom are sometimes a little too—forgive me—heavy-handed: "My body," Truly tells us, "sponged up the world's pain like bread in the bottom of a gravy tray." Yes, that's bad, but it's deliciously bad, like a large bag of gothic potato chips, and once you start, you just can't stop.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Carrington MacDuffie brings Baker's sprawling debut title to life with a thorough attention to detail and excellent ability to convey the rustic local color of rural upstate New York without falling into stock caricatures. Protagonist Truly Plaice-whose size and stature isolate her from daily social life in the provincial community-never loses her grit and determination in spite of all the heartache she endures. MacDuffie's talent shines in her portrayal of Truly's childhood friend Amelia Dyerson, whose mute interactions with the outside world belie her scrappy survival skills and emotional depth. MacDuffie also brings skill and insight to the male figures, particularly Truly's menacing brother-in-law, Doctor "Bob-Bob" Morgan. The transitions make for a sometimes challenging listening experience, but MacDuffie does justice to the ambitious project. A Grand Central hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 8). (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Baker's quickly paced first novel follows the painfully gloomy journey of plus-sized protagonist Truly, whose life is filled with tragedy, difficulties, and sorrow as well as-eventually-joy and victory. The characters are well developed, quirky, and somewhat interesting, though the story is a little predictable. Carrington MacDuffie (Suddenly) engagingly voices Truly, whose observations on her life and the lives of those around her allow listeners to understand her thought processes. Purchase upon request. [Audio clip available through; the Grand Central hc received a starred review, LJ10/15/08.-Ed.]
—Carol Stern

From the Publisher
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... A must-read. —Sara Gruen, author of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS"

Mixes the exuberant eccentricities of John Irving, Anne Tyler's relationship savvy and Margaret Atwood." (PW, Starred Review)

A beautiful, startling and wholly original novel, LGOAC is infused with magic, lush language, and surprises on every page. This book is a treasure. —Stephanie Kallos, author of BROKEN FOR YOU

A bracing, bright, masterful debut, Tiffany Baker is a writer to watch. —Joshilyn Jackson, author of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING"

This fun, folkloric story is part Ugly Duckling, part Tim Burton's Big Fish.... For anyone looking to vanquish the cruelties of the real world, this one's for you." (Marie Claire)"

A little pearl of a book... like buried treasure." (The Dallas Morning News)"

Baker's writing is beautiful. Her descriptive style crafts Truly's emotions into sentences that are hidden treasures." (The Las Vegas Review-Journal)"

An alluring plot... lush voice... Baker has a good sense of the dark comedy of melodrama." (Washington Post)"

One splendid book... Pick of the week." (Boston Sunday Globe)"

First-time novelist Tiffany Baker uses the omniscient first-person narrator with ease. Although written in the past tense, the straightforward timeline construction manages to deliver for its characters a fairy-tale quality of coming, going and being all at once. Truly's wisdom and self-possession are the charm." (The San Francisco Chronicle) "

Tiffany Baker poured her whole heart into this weird and wonderful first novel— and the result resembles its heroine: ungainly but magical; grotesque but true." (Chicago Sun-Times)"

But the brilliant part of this book is the colorful world of Aberdeen that Baker constructs; she weaves together a multitude of little bits to fashion one genuinely entertaining story." (Wisconsin State Journal) "

Truly Plaice is a heroine for our times. She is also a mercy killer, a healer, a loyal and loving friend, aunt and sister and the star of an enchanting first novel." (USA Today)

VOYA - Lori Guenthner
Truly heard the stories about the witch, Tabitha, and her shadow book as a child. Little did she know that she would one day grow up and live in the same house as Tabitha and her descendants, and unearth Tabitha's secrets. Truly sticks out for various reasons, but the most obvious is her size. She is heavier and taller than most men. In fact, she wears men's clothing. She was diagnosed, but not treated for, a pituitary gland problem as a child. Her father did not trust doctors after his wife died giving birth. After their father died several years later, Truly and her older sister, Serena Jane, lived apart. The beautiful Serena Jane was pampered, while Truly lived a harder life on the Dyerson farm. When Serena Jane left her husband, it was Truly who moved into the home to care for Robert "Bob Bob" Morgan and his young son, Bobbie. Truly struggles to find herself and her happiness, and a balance between the traditional and non-traditional, while living in that house. Herbal remedies are an important part of the story, much like Christina Meldrum's Madapple (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008/VOYA June 2008). Social issues such as homosexuality, euthanasia, traumatic war experiences, and date rape are also discussed. Anyone who feels like an outsider will relate to Truly's story. Towards the end, she is given a means of attaining justice and must decide if her choices are ethical. Because of her size and lot in life, she always wonders if she will find love. As it turns out, love finds her. Reviewer: Lori Guenthner

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Grand Central Publishing
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