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The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker



In The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, Truly Plaice has a huge girth, but feelings of insignificance. Tiffany Baker’s folksy Truly keeps her feelings in check to buffer her heart from the indignities she has suffered. When she solves an age old family mystery, Truly gains a sense of empowerment.

A fairy tale complete with a witch, an ogre, a prince, a princess, and magic potions!

From the Publisher

Meet Truly Plaice – part behemoth, part witch, part Cinderella. Born larger than life into a small-minded town, Truly breaks her family into smithereens. Her mother dies during Truly’s birth, and when her father follows shortly afterward, Truly and her dainty sister, Serena Jane, are destined for very different fates. As Truly grows larger and larger on a rundown farm, she watches lovely Serena Jane become the town’s adored May Queen and the obsession of a local boy, Bob Bob Morgan- the youngest in a line of Aberdeen’s doctors, who for generations wove their influence among the town’s citizens. Yet no matter how far apart life propels them, Truly and her sister are forever linked. And Truly will find her future shaped by Serena Jane’s relationships, a centuries-old antique of Dr. Morgan’s, and the reality that love cannot be ordered to size. Grand Central Publishing Hachette Book Group


Book Club Party Ideas

Decorations

The decorations I used for The Little Giant of Aberdeen County book club were inspired by several passages.

Truly’s impression on first seeing Tabitha’s quilt:

“…The only object of any beauty in the room was the floral quilt hung on the wall above the sofa. I walked closer to it, amazed at all the tiny stitches holding the whole thing together. The pattern was one I’d never seen before. The center looked reasonable enough–flowers and leaves in neat rows up and down–but outside the black diamond border, it looked as though the quilt maker had just given up and started sewing vines and plants willy-nilly until she plain ran out of thread.”

Truly’s most prized possession was her mother’s tortoise shell mirror. She hoped that by giving the mirror to Serena Jane, she and her sister could reconnect. However, Miss Sparrow interfered with Truly’s plan:

“…She tucked the handle of the mirror into her waistband, careful to avoid the crack and the raggedy edges of glass, then scowled like a displeased empress. “Now, run along outside.”

Truly, upon meeting Serena Jane’s son, Bobbie, for the first time, is presented with flowers:

“Marcus let me pick them for your room,” he said shyly, casting his eyes down at the petals. “I thought you might like yellow and blue.”

I also included a menu for The Dispensary and Serena Jane’s May Queen sash.

Truly, placed the deck of cards given to her by August in her pocket during the day and under her pillow at night.

“See what lady luck delivers” (as August would say) and play several friendly hands of twenty-one with your book club while discussing the book. Have a cute flower pot (Marcus would approve) on hand as prize.

Twenty-One

Lastly, I included a Princess Bugaboo Fairy Tale book. Truly comforted both Amelia and Bobbie with tales of “the beautiful princess with an ugly name.”  (My fairy tale book is actually an image I downloaded from the internet.  I edited the image with a scrolling frame and added the text, then attached the printed image over the top of an old Atlas.)

Princess Bugaboo Fairy Tales


Book Club Menu for The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

Bobbie’s small restaurant was called The Dispensary and was hailed by Manhattan critics. “Incandescent, his food was called, and a tonic for the soul. Marcus provided all the fruits and vegetables and many of Bobbie’s dishes featured locally foraged herbs. Diners were always charmed to find that the front of the menu was printed to look like an antique quilt.”

With The Dispensary in mind, I prepared my menu.

Delicious Garden Herb Dip with fresh vegetables

Grilled Ham Gruyere Sandwiches served with Sweet Potato Fries and homemade dill chunks from my friend Bobby.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipes

The buttery scent of apple pie … nostalgic, hopeful … filling up the air around me.”

apples, cinnamon, pie crust, recipes

Every night before Truly went to sleep she “drank a cup of peppermint-chamomile tea, as the quilt suggested…”


Book Club Resources

Ratings at the time this post was published

Goodreads: 3.62 stars (9232 reviews)
Amazon: 4 stars (158 reviews)
My Rating: 4.0 stars I loved the fairy tale quality of this novel and shaed more than a few tears over the indignities Truly suffered.

Reviews

  • This fun, folkloric story is part Ugly Duckling, part Tim Burton’s Big Fish…For anyone looking to vanquish the cruel realities of the real world, this one’s for you. – Marie Claire Magazine
  • Baker’s writing is beautiful. Her descriptive style crafts Truly’s emotions into sentences that are hidden treasures. – The Las Vegas Review-Journal
  • Baker enters Alice Hoffman territory in this parable about beauty and ugliness, meanness and mercy and magic…. – The Hartford Courant
  • 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. – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Discussion Questions for The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

  1. Compare Truly’s relationship with Amelia to that of Serena Jane. Which do you consider to be the more sisterly relationship. Why?
  2. Truly’s appearance casts her as an outsider in Aberdeen County. Are there other outsiders in this novel? Who are they and why do they have a problem fitting in? What have these outsiders contributed to Aberdeen County?
  3. How did you feel about the action Truly took in regards to Pricilla and Robert? Was Truly being merciful or were her actions more sinister?
  4. Marcus says to Truly “We’re not exactly a match made in heaven, you and I, but I figure we’re good enough for here on earth.” Explore this statement and interpret what Marcus is saying. How do you feel about this statement?
  5. I especially loved the fairy tale qualities of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. Discuss those qualities as they occur throughout this novel.

 

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County available to purchase at Amazon.com

The Author

Tiffany Baker’s Recipe For A Writing Life

A handful of islands: Belvedere, Aquidneck, Balboa, Manhattan, Corsica, Maui, the UK
Three small children: Two girls and a boy, plump in the cheeks and knees. Strong-willed but sweet when kissed.
One husband
Indecent amounts of chocolate and coffee
A view of a grassy ridge and an old gum tree
~

“Food for thought” and and more on Tiffany Baker at her website.



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