Truly human (in honor of Tiffany’s launch!), by Deb Katie

…So, initially, I was drawn to The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by its cover. I’m a seamstress, so dress forms catch my eye. Especially dress forms with such rubenesque proportions. I’m also a sucker for pretty things. I love the color, the mood, the typeface. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I had high hopes from the get-go for Truly Plaice.

Another clue that the book would be right up my alley was that once, when I blogged about quilting, Tiffany remarked, “My book has a quilt in it.” Fun, I thought. Not a lot of quilting going on in the world of fiction these days.

So when I got my paws on a copy of Little Giant, I sat down, gazed admiringly at the cover, and began to read, eager to get to the part about the quilt.

It didn’t take me long to become completely engrossed in Truly’s voice and story. I won’t say I forgot about the quilt–(no, indeed, you can’t forget about this quilt–it may even influence how you look at all other quilts you ever see…) but I was captivated by the story of a woman whose whole life was made out of layers of pain, as thick as the overgrown body in which she’s a prisoner.

No one I know has had to deal with Truly’s physical condition. But I’m willing to bet almost everyone has found themselves walking a mile in her emotional shoes–the relationship that makes you feel small, the job that makes you feel like a hack, the dilemma that makes you feel like a failure. We’ve all been stuck in situations where we felt dumb, or ugly, or unwanted, or just plain miserable.

In Truly, I found a woman to whom fate has dealt a smack on the back of the head–which is then compounded by, oh, virtually everyone and everything around her. She is resigned–but it’s not her suffering that gives life to her story. It’s that in her resignation, she finds a spark of defiance. And she nurtures it.

It’s the best part of human nature to keep fighting the good fight, to keep digging for the surface, no matter how dark the layers of misery covering us. Truly, though she may be too big to contain in one small town, is a fighter. And because of this, I saw myself in her life and her story. And I think a lot of people will do the same.

And oh, the quilt! The quilt. I’ll admit that at one point, I thought, “Maybe I’ll surprise Tiffany by making her a replica of the quilt in her novel.” Well. You’ll have to read the book to figure out why that probably won’t happen.

Brava, Tiffany! Thanks for bringing Truly to life and sharing her with us.

(Want to order a copy? Follow the links from Tiffany’s website.)

~ Deb Katie Alender

21 thoughts on “Truly human (in honor of Tiffany’s launch!), by Deb Katie

  1. That cover is stunning – a Southern Botero with all those curves. I honestly can’t wait to read this one, despite feeling literarily jaded just now.

  2. Great post, Katie! I’d love to see a replica of the quilt, too! Although Tiffany’s description was so good, I feel like I did see it.

  3. “We’ve all been stuck in situations where we felt dumb, or ugly, or unwanted, or just plain miserable.”

    Yes! I know I just posted yesterday so I already had my turn, but one of my favorite things about this book is how it makes Truly — such a singular, unique woman in many ways — universal. Brava.

  4. Hi, Monda! Thanks for commenting. Truly should lift you out of your fiction funk (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

    Meredith, true. That’s one of the reasons I could never attempt it!

    Kristina, I thought about that a lot, even while reading it. Truly really does tap into that place in all of us.

    Judy, it is! I hope you get a chance to read it soon.

  5. Okay, I’ll be scouring the shelves at Barnes and Noble this weekend (my hang out of choice) and hug this book all the way home like I used to hug a long wished-for toy from the toy store.

  6. Katie–you’re like me–as a lifelong sewer-of-things, dolls, bears, costumes, doll clothes (as differentiated from a tailor, who is far more exacting than I prefer to be in such endeavors!) I was drawn to the XL dress form, and as a quilter as well, the quilt component has me intrigued (especially with your cryptic comment at the end! though I’m guessing about that…). Must get reading to find out details!

  7. Thanks, all. The cover is based on the photograph of a real woman. I love the artists’ work. It’s all very retro. And it’s so sweet that you thought about sewing the quilt, Katie! I think it would be hard. But, then, I have a hard time just sewing on buttons. I’m terrible. So I guess the quilt really IS an object of fantasy.

  8. Marsha (did you see that you won our contest? Check Sunday’s news flash!), yay! Be sure to comment to the manager that you’ve heard lots of good things about it. 😉

    Jenny, ooh! Just you wait! You’ll see what I mean.

    Tiffany, don’t get me wrong–I’m tempted to try. But then again, the way my quilting queue is lined up, I’d get to it in about 2012. And re: the cover, do you mean they built the dress form graphic around a photograph of a real body? That’s so cool. But wait–you can save your answer for cover week (January 19-24!).

  9. A part of Truly lives within all of us and that makes our connection with her almost immediate. As for the cover…this picture is worth much, much more than a thousand words!

  10. Sounds like a book that you can completely immerse yourself in without even knowing it. I’m especially intrigued by that spark of defiance in Truly’s character that you wrote about. That survival instinct makes fighters out of would-be-victims.

    Gosh, Katie, with all the reading I’m doing for school, how on earth am I going to fit this in my schedule? :0)

  11. Jason, thanks for coming by today!

    Tom, add “bonding with Toby” and I don’t know how you’ll get anything done. I guess you have to give up sleeping. 😉 And yes, that spark is what spoke to me. Truly won’t go down without a fight.

  12. The dress form caught my attention. To me it has that feeling of potential and projects in progress- both of which fit the description of the book. I can’t wait to read it!

  13. Great review, Katie. Not only do I want to read this, I can think of at least half a dozen teenage girls who will want to. The cover pulled me right in too — you wonder who the woman is and why she’s a little giant.

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