The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, by Tiffany Baker

What an interesting book! I found this on a friend’s recommendation, having heard nothing about it before. It’s a novel about a woman afflicted with a hormonal disorder that makes her keep growing — the specific name of her medical condition is never given, and in fact some of the medical details are a bit sketchy, as parts of the novel have almost a magic-realism feel to them. The focus is very much on people and relationships — this is a character-driven novel with some beautiful writing.

The main character is Truly, whose unattractive hugeness is always contrasted with her beautiful, delicate sister Serena Jane. But being big and ugly isn’t Truly’s only problem — her mother dies, her father drinks and then dies, and when the girls are orphaned, Serena Jane is adopted by a devoted family while Truly is dumped on the farm of the poorest people in town. Still, she manages to make two lifelong friends and carve out a life for herself — and when, as an adult, Serena Jane disappears, Truly finds herself immersed in a bizarre love-hate relationship with her sister’s ex-husband. All the characters are unique, individual, and intriguing.

The most unusual feature of this novel (to me, even moreso than having a “giant” as the main character) was the narration, which was both first-person and omniscient — Truly tells the story, but she also jumps into the heads of other characters and relates scenes and conversations she could not have known about. I’ve never seen an author attempt this before, and it’s  a great example of how you a good writer can break all the rules and do things that shouldn’t work,  yet somehow pull it off. I found this novel fascinating and engaging throughout, and highly recommend it.

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