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Dwarf: A Memoir

Dwarf: A Memoir

4.1 11
by Tiffanie DiDonato, Rennie Dyball

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“It's okay with me if you picked up this book because you're curious about what it's like to live with dwarfism. But I hope that you'll take away much more—about adapting to the world when it won't adapt to you.”—from Dwarf

A memoir of grit and transformation for anyone who has been told something was impossible and then went


“It's okay with me if you picked up this book because you're curious about what it's like to live with dwarfism. But I hope that you'll take away much more—about adapting to the world when it won't adapt to you.”—from Dwarf

A memoir of grit and transformation for anyone who has been told something was impossible and then went on to do it anyway.

Tiffanie DiDonato was born with dwarfism. Her limbs were so short that she was not able to reach her own ears. She was also born with a serious case of optimism. She decided to undergo a series of painful bone-lengthening surgeries that gave her an unprecedented 14 inches of height—and the independence she never thought she’d have.

After her surgeries, Tiffanie was able to learn to drive, to live in the dorms during college, and to lead a normal life. She even made time to volunteer, writing to troops stationed abroad, and one of those Marine pen pals ultimately became her husband.

Dwarf is a moving and, at times, funny testament to the power of sheer determination, and has been compared to Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree.

Watch her Good Morning America segment: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/dwarf-womans-story-undergoing-controversial-lengthening-surgeries/story?id=17841466.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Remarkable… engaging… uplifting and profound.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[DiDonato’s] physical want of stature and reach, however, did not extend to the length and breadth of her grit and determination… DiDonato’s dramatic memoir is testament to the realist’s view of life—use every tool in your toolbox to adjust to the world around you.”—Booklist
Kirkus Reviews
With the assistance of People editor Dyball (co-author: A Famous Dog's Life: The Story of Gidget, America's Most Beloved Chihuahua, 2011, etc.), first-time author DiDonato tells the remarkable tale of her lifelong battle to overcome diastrophic dysplasia, a crippling genetic disorder that not only causes unusually short limbs, but chronic arthritis. While many children long to be taller, the author decided early on to do whatever it took to combat her body's literal shortcomings so she could perform such ordinary tasks as taking out the trash. Born with clubbed feet, the author underwent her first corrective surgery when she was 2 days old and then again at the age 2. With arms so short she couldn't reach her own ears or other body parts, DiDonato improvised, employing salad tongs to wipe herself and help pull up her socks. But at 8 years of age and standing only 3 feet 8 inches tall, the constant desire for greater independence led her and her mother to seek out radical bone-lengthening treatments. A veteran of dozens of childhood surgeries, DiDonato viewed the pain and temporary immobility resulting from these grueling procedures as mere means to an end. Having gained four inches from her first lengthening surgeries and endured their torturous aftermath, the author chose to undertake the procedures again at 15, seeking out a surgeon who would enable her to risk going beyond the recommended additional three inches in height to whatever length her body could take. Throughout this engaging memoir, the author's resolve to do "whatever it takes to live an independent life" proves unwavering, even in the face of criticism from others facing similar challenges who considered her choices motivated by a lack of self-acceptance. Sappy toward the end, but mostly uplifting and profound.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Tiffanie DiDonato's body was far too small for her big dreams. Born with a rare form of dwarfism, she would never grow taller than 3'8" but yearned for an independent life in which she wouldn't have to depend on devices for help. So she underwent a series of bone-lengthening surgeries, going far beyond the norm. Most people gain a few inches from the procedure, but Tiffanie kept going until she was a full 14 inches taller and 4'10". Along the way, she met the man of her dreams (a tall, handsome Marine), with whom she has a son. Her memoir, Dwarf, is an inspirational story about fighting for the life you want to live... and that dreams do come true.

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Dwarf: A Memoir of How One Woman Fought for a Body-and a Life-She Was Never Supposed to Have 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
SusanMiles More than 1 year ago
I have to admit I was drawn to the cover, but when I read the back cover about the author expecting this and wanting you to read the book, I admit I was intriqued. Tiffanie was born with a rare form of dwarfism and how she made decisions that affected the quality of life. Tiffanie could not get down stairs unless on her backside, could not comb her hair and poignantly could not take out the garbage (a major psychological goal). She endured major bone lengthing surgeries including one that was groundbreaking. Although she has taken a lot of flack all Tiffanie wanted to to was take control of her own body. She definitely did not want to conform, just live an independent life. The book covers her birth, school, college,marriage and motherhood. It is a fast read and not everthing is a Cinderella moment. I give credit to her parents, doctors and friends for the amazing support she had. I highly recommend the book as a testimony to one woman who never felt disabled (until the teacher mentioned it - a life turning moment) and took control of her life.
Mamapow More than 1 year ago
Excellent.  Her voice made me feel like I was hearing a friend's story. Read the entire book in one setting.  Don't usually do that.  She really made me realize how many things we take for granted without being whiny about her inabilities.
TakeMeAway More than 1 year ago
An interesting read about someone dealing with a struggle. There was more focus than I expected on the bone lengthening procedure itself. But there was also a lot about the relationships the author had. Brought tears to my eyes a few times!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This group will be moved to wizard result two. I apologize for any inconveniance this may cause u. -ArwenEvenstar (a.k.a. ShadowKnight)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. Intriguing. Well-written. A truly inspiring story about what one woman (and her family) endured to fight for the basic things in life that most of us completely take for granted- putting earrings in, brushing our hair, washing our hands. I commend her for her strength and tenacity to go through what she did and come out on the other side with the same sunny disposition and optimism toward life in general. It blows my mind that people can read her memoir and still feel the need to criticize her for her decision. People can judge her, say that it was vain and for cosmetic reasons (which is BS, by the way), say that they would never do such a thing. And to them I would say- Good. Then don't. No one is asking you to. Tiffanie did was was right for HER. That takes courage. And strength. It takes one head-strong, bad-a_ _ person to do what she did... and I applaud her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
Left me with lots of questions...why no contact with paternal grandparents & Dad's family? Good story, not great writing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked hearing this womens life story and everything she had to go through. I really enjoyed reading her book.