Author: Melanie Benjamin
Title: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
Description: Lavinia Warren Bump (Vinnie) was a normal baby, but as a toddler, she stopped growing. She topped out at 32” tall, and her little sister Minnie was just a little shorter. Although she started out as a schoolteacher, she wanted to see the world, and her size gave her an excuse to leave home and travel. After a rough start as a sideshow attraction, she met P.T. Barnum and became one of his wonders.
Review source: I got this ARC at ALA last year, but the book has been out for a year now.
Plot: The author has done some wonderfully thorough historical research here. Her plot follows the incidents in Vinnie’s life.
Characters: It’s definitely a character-driven novel, my favorite kind. Vinnie, Minnie, Charles (Tom Thumb), and Barnum, along with many supporting characters all come to life here.
Writing style: Vinnie narrates the book with a good deal of foreshadowing (“If only I had known then what I know now…”).
Audience: It’s literary fiction; I think all ages and genders would enjoy it.
Wrap-up: I wasn’t expecting much out of this book, but it snuck up on me and grabbed me! Rarely do I read a book straight through (I’m usually reading it along with 20 or so others); this one merited a Saturday/Sunday read! I think I enjoyed the historical veracity along with a chance to imagine what it could be like to live such an unusual life. Highly recommended! 5/5*