Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

Title: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Author: Tiffany Baker
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 341
Published: 2009
Date Finished: 21 April 2009
My Rating: 3 Stars
Challenges: 100, Library, New Author, Pub

I need to create a new category of books for myself and call it "books I really wanted to like because they came highly recommended from people whose opinions I generally trust but just didn't like."
I eagerly picked up The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker because I had heard and read so many good reviews of the novel and its author. Unfortunately, this family saga about two sisters, the beautiful Serena Jane and the giant Truly, just failed to capture me. Born with a pituitary gland disorder Truly is, literally not just figuratively, a giant. She lives unhappily with her father and sister in upstate New York (her mother died while giving birth to the little giant.) Life changes for Truly when, after the death of her father, she moves in with a family living on a farm on the outskirts of town. Beautiful Serena Jane is left with a family in town and embraces her life of beauty and ease.
This was a novel of contrasts, beauty and ugliness, nice people and mean people. The novel explored many themes including love, betrayal, euthanasia, rape, true friendship and homosexuality. Maybe it was because the author tried to explore so many different themes in one book and never really focused well on any of them that the narrative did not work for me. The stories never seemed to go anywhere and I found myself getting bored. Not to mention the number of things that went unanswered or explored. Too many holes.
The fact the the novel was told by Truly but she was given an omniscient narrative voice also bothered me at times. How did Truly know what was going on in places she was not present and inside people's heads? The writing was also too lyrical and flowery at times to have been Truly's voice. It just did not fit.
I did not find many of the characters to be likable or sympathetic, including Truly, who became rather hateful and cruel herself at times or just frustrated me with the choices she made.
The novel started out strong and there were some narrative threads that I enjoyed but things just floundered out somewhere along the way. An OK book, and while it does not get a blanket recommendation from me, I know there is a slew of positive reviews out there, so obviously many people felt differently about this book than I do.


Meghan said...

It's always disappointing when everyone else really enjoys a book but I just don't. I always wonder if I missed something. I'm sorry you didn't like this one!

Laura H said...

AMEN!! I thought I was the only one on the planet that didnt like this book. I did not like any of the characters. I think this book was too hyped and I felt really disappointed.

debilyn said...

This just happened to me recently...
i picked up THE WEDNESDAY LETTERS because of all the wonderful things i heard about it. I was so disappointed with it that halfway through i just quit reading. I thought there was no character development, and the dialogue interaction just wasn't believable at all.

Maybe I just had a really hard time with it because I started it right after I finished THE BOOK THIEF...which I thought was pure writing genius.

Thoughts of Joy said...

I'm glad to read this (actually glance over it), so when I read it I won't feel the pressure of the reviewers that found it excellent. :)

Debilyn - I thought The Wednesday Letters was just okay.

Trish said...

I hate when that happens! Especially because I liked this book so much. :) I can see a lot of what you didn't like about this book, but for some reason it worked for me. I didn't think too much about the narration--maybe because the book had kind of mystical feel to it anyway? Oh well--sometimes a book has too much hype for its own good (Water for Elephants was one of those for me). Hope the next one is better for you.

Penny (aka Yooperchick) said...

I feel the SAME way! Although I haven't read this book (and probably won't, because it just doesn't interest me), I have read plenty of books that I wonder if I missed something that made everyone else like it so much!