The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
By Tiffany Baker
(Grand Central Publishing, Hardcover, 9780446194204, 352pp.)
Publication Date: January 2009
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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 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.
Tiffany Baker lives in Tiburon, California with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.
"THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY 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, all brought to an apex in the larger-than-life personage of Truly, a heroine simultaneously infused with a quiet and dignified grace and peculiar sense of purpose. This dark-yet-rolicking debut is a must-read." (Sara Gruen, author of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS)
"A beautiful, startling and wholly original novel, LGOAC is infused with magic, lush language, and surprises on every page. Tiffany Baker has given us a flawed, prickly, enchanting heroine in Truly--part Cinderella, part Witch, part Behemoth. In ther timeless story of small town life, the boundary between reality and fairy tale does not exist, and happy endings are possible but hard-won. This book is a treasure. " (Stephanie Kallos, author of BROKEN FOR YOU)
"TLGOAC read so fresh and unfolded in such surprising ways that I was captivated from start to finish. It's a bracing, bright, masterful debut, and Tiffany Baker is a writer to watch." (Joshilyn Jackson, author of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING)
"Baker's bangup debut mixes the exuberant eccentricities of John Irving's Garp, Anne Taylor's relationship savvy, and the plangent voice of Margaret Atwood." (Publishers Weekly-- starred review)
"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 Clarie)
"So enchanting . . . an American fairy tale that's part Alice Hoffman, part Brothers Grimm." (Christian Science Monitor)
"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)
"This novel twists and turns . . . Baker's writing is beautiful." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)