The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Title:  The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Author:  Tiffany Baker
Release date:  January 8, 2009
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Pages:  341
Genre:  Adult fiction
Source:  Publisher

Truly Place, born larger than any normal infant should be, grows at an alarming rate throughout her childhood.  It is especially distressing to Truly to grow like she does when compared to her beautiful doll-like sister, Serena Jane.  After her mother dies in childbirth, the girls are raised by their father, and when he dies, Truly and Serena Jane are separated – Truly goes to live with a farming family where she will work hard but be loved, and Serena Jane to a family where she will be cherished as the precious princess she has always been.  When, years later, Serena Jane leaves her husband and young son, Truly must finally leave the farm she loves and family she knows to move in with her brother-in-law in order to help take care of her nephew, Bobbie.  While the world may not treat Truly as she deserves, she is a constant positive force in the boy’s life, and never stops loving those who love her back.

I am of two minds about The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.  Overall, reading it was an enjoyable experience.  Overall, I loved Truly and rooted for her the whole way through, I thought the town was so charming and the story felt very natural.  Yet there were a couple of things about the novel that I distinctly disliked, and they did hinder my overall happiness with the book.

The first thing that really bothered me about the novel happened pretty early on in the story, and it left such a bad taste in my mouth. [minor spoiler ahead]  Serena Jane is clearly raped by Bob Bob, causing a pregnancy and a subsequent marriage, yet the incident is not really discussed as the rape it is.  I can’t tell you how much this angers me.  I know that readers are smart enough to understand that it’s rape, but I wish there would have been more anger on Serena’s part about her circumstances, or at the very least on Truly’s part about what her sister had to go through!  UGH.  The second thing that bothered me was the overall bleakness of Truly’s life.  Yes, she was a hopeful person, and yes she had plenty of people in her life who loved and cared for her, but the overall tone of her life was sort of sad.  She was lonely, she did things for others without being reciprocated, she wanted desperately to be respected by her own family, and to me it was just really sad.

However, I did finish the book with an overall feeling of satisfaction.  The writing is extremely charming, and I felt like I got to know these characters really, really well.  I couldn’t have cared about Truly so much otherwise!  I got such an honest feel for Aberdeen County, and I loved getting to know (most of) the people there.  Truly is a character that really got in my heart and stayed there, and that’s probably why her situation depressed me so much.  I also found myself caring for Serena Jane, especially as she is only shown through Truly’s eyes – I got the feeling that there was so much more to her, and I wanted to get to know her better.

So, yes I liked The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.  There were aspects of the novel that I didn’t like, but I can still recommend it.  It’s not going on any of my “best of” lists, but I would call it a solid read nonetheless.


22 thoughts on “The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker”

  1. I did not like this book at all. As you mentioned Truly’s life was awfully bleak and therefore I could not buy into her amount of optimism. I found her to be a doormat in many instances and I couldn’t even pity her. I wanted her to take control over her life.

    Also, I considered your point that you made about the rape scene. After some thought I think the author played it out like that to illustrate how sad the town as a whole was. It showed that not only did they abandon Truly in her life but that they even abandoned the pretty one. (Or she abandoned herself, maybe a self implicit “this is how my life is in this town”). In fact, I think that her story would be a helluva lot more interesting.

    1. I agree that she was a doormat in so many aspects of her life. I hated that she did whatever was “expected” of her without even trying to live her life she way she really wanted to.

      I see what you mean about the rape thing. I was already thinking the author did it that way intentionally, but it still bothered me. I just wished that someone would have at least acknowledged what really happened, instead of Truly glossing over it and acting like Serena had no choice but to get married. Although, I guess in that town, she really did have no choice.

  2. I actually just finished up a book where a character considering rape towards his romantic interest just made me shut down! I hate it when such incidents aren’t treated as the rapes they are; I don’t have anything against including them (they’re horrific and they happen), but not treating them like what they are disgusts me.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I honestly don’t mind rape scenes in books, as long as they are treated for what they actually are! Nothing pisses me off more when there is a rape in a book and someone calls it “sex”. Rape is not sex!! UGH!

  3. Sometimes those really quiet and dreary, depressing novels are so hard to not get frantically upset at the characters. At least that’s with me — I get so frustrated and I like to cheer the character on, but I get frustrated sometimes. I want them to grow and develop…I guess that’s the Hollywood urge side in me.

    Stop by my blog, you’ve got an award waiting for you!! 🙂

    1. I am so with you. It’s not that I’m against depressing novels, not at all, it’s just when a character’s fate is so clearly in her own hands, yet she does nothing to grab it, nothing to change her life circumstances or to grow as a character, that’s when I get annoyed about the depressing aspects of a book.

  4. I dislike it when rape isn’t treated like it and that alone would make me hesitate a little to pick this up. It sounds okay otherwise though.

    1. I didn’t want my review to come across as overly negative because honestly, I enjoyed some aspects of the novel. I did close the book feeling glad I read it. But the rape thing, and a few other things, just bugged me too much to not mention.

  5. Mm, I think this one’s not for me. The rape thing sounds especially frustrating, but in general I struggle with books where people’s lives are just miserable from start to finish. Even when the book’s beautifully written, like Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, I just end up feeling so grim myself that it’s not worth it.

    1. Yes, then probably Truly’s life would bother you. The worst thing about it is that she could have done so much to change her circumstances, but she didn’t even try! So frustrating.

  6. You know I was wondering that about the rape thing too. It was clearly a rape but then it was all “ah, well, we might as well be together now”. I’m only about halfway through this but I took a break from it.

    1. Yeah, it was kind of ridiculous the way it wasn’t treated as a rape – it was treated as a reason to get married! WTF? I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the book when/if you do get back to it.

  7. Ick to the rape/marriage thing! I had a suspicion this one wouldn’t live up to its cover, and I’d rather spend my time reading books I love. 😉

    1. Glad you liked it so much! I would definitely read another of her books, just this one in particular didn’t totally work for me. But I still loved her writing!

  8. I’m with you on this one. Overall, I did enjoy it but Serena Jane’s acceptance that she has to marry the man that raped her bothered me, too. I always felt like Truly was really the lucky one–she has two people that really cared for her, well more than Robert had and he was the one that was so respected.

  9. I read this one awhile back, and I remember being angry about the whole situation with Serena, but I just figured that was the way the author wanted to tell the story. I just really enjoyed the writing and got lost in it so I tried not to let the sadness of Truly’s story get me down.

  10. I checked this out of the library months ago and only read the first few chapters before I had to return it. One of these days I’ll try again.

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