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Cover image for The little giant of Aberdeen County
The little giant of Aberdeen County

Publication Information:
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2009.
Physical Description:
559 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, all of Aberdeen was betting on how huge her baby boy would be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity. Her mother died in childbirth. Her father, who blamed her, was ill-equipped to raise this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane. When he died, the sisters were separated - Serena Jane to a life of privilege and Truly to the farm of the town Sadsack.


Call Number
Baker, T.

On Order



In this family saga, unearthed secrets lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually breaks the Morgan family apart forever. However, one woman's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Baker's bangup debut mixes the exuberant eccentricities of John Irving's Garp, Anne Tyler's relationship savvy and the plangent voice of Margaret Atwood. In an upstate New York backwater, Truly, massive from birth, has a bleak existence with her depressed father and her china-doll-like sister, Serena Jane. Truly grows at an astonishing rate--her girth the result of a pituitary gland problem--and after her father dies when Truly is 12, Truly is sloughed off to the Dyersons, a hapless farming family. Her outsize kindness surfaces as she befriends the Dyersons' outcast daughter, Amelia, and later leaves her beloved Dyerson farm to take care of Serena Jane's husband and son after Serena Jane leaves them. Haunting the margins of Truly's story is that of Tabitha Dyerson, a rumored witch whose secrets afford a breathtaking role reversal for Truly. It's got all the earmarks of a hit--infectious and lovable narrator, a dash of magic, an impressive sweep and a heartrending but not treacly family drama. It'll be a shame if this doesn't race up the bestseller lists. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

Debut novelist Baker attempts a contemporary fable about an epically proportioned young woman searching for love and acceptance in her upstate New York hometown. After her mother dies giving birth to her, Truly Plaice grows up with petite sister Serena Jane under their father's care until his death when Truly is 12. The snobbish minister's wife takes in conventionally pretty Serena, while freakishly large Truly ends up on the Dyersons' hardscrabble farm. She finds a friend in Amelia Dyerson, whose poverty and learning disabilities make her an outsider like Truly, and in Marcus Thompson, another misfit because he's so smart. Popular Serena seems the lucky one, until doctor's son Bob Bob date rapes and impregnates her. They marry and head to Buffalo where they remain for eight years while Bob Bob morphs into Dr. Robert Morgan IV. Shortly after their return to Aberdeen with seven-year-old Bobbie, Serena runs off. Robert and Amelia are called to identify her dead body in a nearby town. Truly, growing larger by the day, agrees to move in with Robert to help raise sweetly effeminate Bobbie. It's a pituitary gland problem that's causing Truly's perpetual enlargement, declares Robert, who begins secretly treating her. Meanwhile she comes across a quilt into which Robert's great-great-grandmother stitched herbal, perhaps magical cures not long after the Civil War. Soon Truly is concocting her own brews and facing life-or-death choices, as the remedies can both cure and kill. Despite a few missteps, she finds ultimate redemption, complete with weight loss and marriage. It is probably no coincidence that Aberdeen County has a Celtic ring, since despite a few contemporary reference points (Vietnam, gays) it has an out-of-time, Brigadoon atmosphere. Readers with a soft spot for lovable, saintly freaks may overlook the simplistic characterizations and manufactured plot. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Truly is born into a life of suffering and tragedy. Her mother dies in childbirth, and her father is ill equipped to deal with either of his two daughters. Truly's sister, Serena Jane, is the acknowledged town beauty, while Truly suffers from an illness that causes her to grow way beyond normal size. When their father also dies, the girls are split up, and their lives diverge and reconnect in ways neither could imagine. Woven into the story of the sisters is a larger story of women and the ways they are forced to navigate the world. Although primarily a straightforward story, the novel is infused with moments of magic realism. At times the town of Aberdeen, with its stereotypical small-town prejudices and quirks, seems a little too familiar. Overall, though, the novel charms and will find a devoted audience.--Block, Marta Segal Copyright 2008 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Bigger than life-sized, Truly Plaice feels truly out of place in the strait-laced little town of Aberdeen. A huge debut in so many ways; reading group guide. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.