Did you ever read a book, thought you understood what it was about, then decide later on that you’re not entirely sure? That’s what my experience was with The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker.
If you would have asked me about this book two weeks ago when I finished listening to the last cd, I would have told you that it was about a girl in upstate New York who was left motherless after her mother died giving birth to her due to her enormous size. Poor Truly never really lived down the stigma of her mother dying as a result of her birth nor the cruelty she endured as a huge girl, then woman.
Now, thinking back, I’m not so sure.
After her father dies when she is 12, Truly moves in with the Dyerson family, possibly the only other people in her small town who are more down on their luck than Truly herself. Truly’s lovely yet narcissistic sister, Serena Jane, moves in with Reverend Pickerton and his wife to live a fairy tale life, one that is the exact opposite of her sister’s.
As time goes on, Truly becomes part of the Dyerson’s family and especially close to their odd, silent daughter Amelia. Serena Jane, who has big dreams of moving away, is forced to marry the town doctor’s son, Robert Morgan, after a particularly disturbing date rape scene. When Serena Jane finally abandons her mentally abusive physician husband and young child, it is Truly who stays to care for them both.
Truly’s horizons expand as she cares for her nephew, Bobby, and tries to find the spell book of Robert Morgan’s great-grandmother, Tabitha Dyerson, who was considered to be a witch. Unfortunately, Truly’s body is expanding too and she is becoming heavier and bigger by the week. This prompts taunts and cruelty from Robert Morgan (who was truly a non-redeemable character) who treats her like a lab rat by drawing her blood and giving her shots on a weekly basis.
I’m going to leave the synopsis at that so that I don’t spoil the end for you if you decide to read this book. I’m really hoping that you do decide to read it because I’m still a little confused about the meaning behind it.
Was it about unconditional love? Was it about revenge? Was it about body image and acceptance? Was it about euthanasia? Was it about spells, shadow books and magic?
The only thing I know for sure was that it reminded me of John Irving, Alice Hoffman, and Elizabeth Strout all rolled into one quirky book. I also know that I would like for someone else to read it and report back what they thought.
I’m still not sure.