…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
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