The Smallest Thing

The Smallest Thing

by Lisa Manterfield

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940158614415
Publisher: Steel Rose Press
Publication date: 07/10/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 284
File size: 846 KB

About the Author

Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of A Strange Companion and I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat. Learn more at

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The Smallest Thing 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The smallest thing (sic), by Lisa Manterfield, (2017), Steel Rose Press. A Plague upon it! This compelling story not only kept me glued to its pages but also brought me back to my own 18th year when the only thing I wanted was to get out of town. And not to come back. That is not exactly the truth (sex was, like our protagonist, Emmott Syddall another “only” thing) but, another time. I should say I am a novelist, and I've met Lisa Manterfield. Given that, believe me, this book is not only wonderful in capturing the young adult spirit in all its contradiction and impulse, but is also a major accomplishment in narrative voice. We are confined to “this scepter'd isle . . . this England,” to the tiny village of Eyam, are quarantined with Emmott and her dad and kept throughout in the narrative and the mind of our Dear Miss Syddall. Oh my, that last is spellbinding. Her escape plan thwarted by a viral plague, announcing its arrival with the inexplicable death of neighbors, followed then by predictable deaths of friends and family. Emmott's hard charge through her last month of “childhood” (she turns 18 during this quarantine) has her caterwauling through Eyam trying to escape, seeking to comfort, and coming to understand those she's known, and largely ignored—she is a teen, remember—all her life. This wonderful read gives wider range and meaning to the proverb: It takes a village to raise a child. Don't worry about the plague. Manterfield's clean, controlled, and awfully witty prose will bring you through it with only a slight fever. Tim Jollymore, author of Listener in the Snow, Observation Hill, The Advent of Elizabeth, and the forthcoming People You've Been Before.
FairytaleKingdom More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of “The Smallest Thing” by Lisa Manterfield in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads and Barnes and Noble * This book follows a girl named Emmot who lives in a small, quiet village in England. However, she wants to leave and go to London for the peaceful and monotonous live her family and neighbors have is not what she desires for herself. But then, her neighbors start dying and the government is forced to quarantine the small village Once again, Emmott feels trapped. And she has to decide if she will endure the quarantine and support her family and friends or if she will try to escape following her original plan. * This book felt a little bit slow paced and dragged at some points but I now think that it helped my understand the way the population in that village was feeling regarding at time passing by slow and how they felt they had been trapped there forever * The writing was easy, and flowing and the author wrote a couple of phrases that actually stayed in my mind for days: “I’m not prepared to sit around while life, or in this case, death, happens to me. dad isn’t going to like this one bit, but my life isn’t his to squander. As far as I know, we only get one life, and I’m going to do whatever I can to preserve mine” It was a struggle to connect with Em (the main character) because I found her a bit selfish but overall, I like her because, in that situation I might have reacted the same way. She is determined and brave and free. Nothing can stop or trap her. * Regarding the romantic plot in this story, I think it was a bit rushed and insta love but overall, Aiden (a guy in a hazmat suit who was there to help the villagers) ended up proving himself a good friend and something more to Em. * The messages I took from the book are powerful and I’m truly glad I got to read this. Even the most simple and small act can mean the world to someone in a moment of crisis
Amers86 More than 1 year ago
I really, really enjoyed this story!! It grabbed my attention from the start and held it to the end. I was left wanting more but that simply is because I wanted to know what happened, needed to know they were okay. The author could have continued but it would have made a very long story. So it wasn’t enough to make me want to rate it any less. The detail in this story is simply chilling. Since this was based on a true story, the idea that these details are real makes it leave goosebumps as you read. It was intriguing to read and scary at the same time. Can you imagine living through something like this? I sure can’t. I think the author really did an excellent job bringing the reader into the story. The descriptions were crazy real. The details and descriptions really did a great job bringing the story to life, again, and allowing the reader population to experience just a snippet of an experience like that. I can’t really say enough good about this story. The author did such a great job, at times, it seemed like a fantasy story, and at times it seemed like real life. I appreciate the way that she chose to tell the story. I appreciated her writing style and her ability to draw the reader in. I would definitely recommend this story – it’s one to enjoy and remember, for sure! * A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
The science nerd in me has always been fascinated by plagues. So when I caught wind that Lisa Manterfield's The Smallest Thing was inspired by the plague that wrecked havoc on Eyam, I was intrigued. I was curious to see how she gave this historical story a modern twist through the eyes of modern day teenager. The end result? I wasn't disappointed one bit. Harrowing, intense, and compelling, The Smallest Thing is a book focuses not only on how tragedy effects us inside and out but also on how hope and humanity are possibility two of the most important qualities to possess. Emmott is a character I think any one - old or young - can easily relate to, because we've all been there before, wanting to get out of the town we've always known, knowing that the only way to spread our wings is to go into the unknown. As someone who's grew up in a small town with the same people day-in-and-day-out, I, for one, found it incredibly easy to relate to Em. I easily understood her frustrations, her desire for new and unknown, and the chance to do just that with someone think she's loves. I especially admired her determination regarding this - she's one girl who knows what she wants and will do anything to get there. Over the course of the book, however, we see a new Em in some respects - she goes from someone who's so quick to leave to someone who begins to wonder how she can leave the people she loves the most - her dad, her best friend, even the boy she just meet - behind when their respective futures are so incredibly up in the air. She also begins to see people, especially her dad, in a new light - seeing that maybe a strong, tight community isn't the worst thing, and that her dad, bless his heart, is the town spokesperson because, really, he doesn't now how not to be one. I loved seeing this change in Emmott, seeing her go from this one way of thinking type of person to someone who sees the whole word in a 3D brought incredible growth for her character and it was a rewarding process to see. However, I will admit my heart ached incredibly bad when it took bad situations turned worse to really drive certain points home. As for the plot, I thought Lisa did a fantastic job of creating the plague related storyline as well as ultimately making this book a coming-of-age at its heart. While I don't know everything there is to known about plagues, I feel that Lisa did an accurate job of portraying once, especially regarding the timelines given as well as the tent system set up. She also did a great job of using the plague to build up this uncertain yet addictive quality to the story lines...I was always dying to know what would happen next, especially in regard to when the plague would end. What I also enjoyed about the The Smallest Thing, was that it didn't include much romance (I know that's a surprise right?!). It left more time for character development and growth as well as for plot development, and the story truly managed to benefit from it. I loved seeing Em become this kick-a$$ main character, who doesn't necessarily need a man to reach her dreams. In all, The Smallest Thing is an compelling look at how one plague can change one girl's life. I highly suggest this one to those who love character driven stories with the addition of some suspense and drama. *This review originally appeared on Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf*
taradurham77 More than 1 year ago
I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review on Emmott, a 17 year old girl, is dying to break away from her village and make a life for herself in London. Her family has lived for generations in the same village, actually most people simply never leave. Every family expects their children to stay and pass on the village's history. Emmott has a plan to take off with her boyfriend Ro-she has a job and apartment already secured. Mysterious deaths begin happening and no one knows what's happening until one day-the entire village is quarantined off-making her break impossible. Her mother and sister are away visiting family, leaving her and her father alone. Emmott has never felt like she belongs there-except for one good friend and Ro, she's felt alone. Her father feels it's his calling to take care of the entire village-which leaves them dangerously close daily to contamination. Whatever this virus is-it's deadly. Emmott struggles because she needs her dad and cannot understand why he can't just focus on her and staying healthy. I hesitate to say much more on this. I was pleasantly surprised by this book because I was riveted from the very start. There are more very important characters but hate to spoil it! Will Emmott and her father survive this nightmare? Will Emmott ever taste the freedom she so craves?
JBronder More than 1 year ago
Emmott Syddall is seventeen and stuck in a small fishing village that she hates. All she wants to do is move to London with her boyfriend Ro and his family. She despises the little village and plans in secret how she is going to leave. But just before she can make her break for freedom and virus starts affecting the elderly then the healthy in the village. Em doesn’t see and/or doesn’t care as she sees her neighbors start dying around her. But when the village is placed in quarantined she starts realizing that there is so much more to the people in the village. Em wants nothing more than to escape. Yes she is selfish and self-centered but she is also seventeen and doesn’t see the big picture. Even when the elderly start dying all she sees is herself. But then she is forced to look around and realizes that things and not how she believed. I loved watching her relationship with her father grown. And although she gets her crush on Aiden I’m glad with how that turned out too. I can relate to Em. I grew up in a small farming town. I didn’t fit in but I had no place else to go. And although it looked like a great place to grow up with very friendly people, trust me, there was a dark side to the area that has ruined my opinions of small towns. This is a great story based on the plague of the village of Eyam, which I want to read now. Just knowing that gives this story a new level of creepy. But it’s a great story of love, loss, and realizing that there is so much more to your world than you can see. I received The Smallest Thing from eBooks for Review for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.