From Publishers Weekly
Starred 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A gothic, macabre tale involving revenge, redemption, folk medicine, and magic, The Little Giant
garnered ample praise from critics, who were perhaps surprised that the story of a gargantuan woman captivated them so thoroughly. Although the first part, which focuses on the relationship between Truly and Serena Jane, contains elements of melodrama, it allows Baker to explore the contrast between all kinds of beauty and ugliness. Baker moves on to explore issues such as family, betrayal, love, and friendship (her attempts to tackle topics such as euthanasia, rape, and sexual orientation fall a little flat). A few critics also faulted Trudy's unrealistic first-person but omniscient narration, but this was a minor complaint in a compelling, emotional, and intelligent novel from an author to watch.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC