When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane, the epitome of femine perfection. When he, too, relinquished his increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town on the farm of the town sadsack, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of her peers.
Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans who have been doctors in Aberdeen for generations. Though they have long been the pillars of the community, the earliest Robert Morgan married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen from there on.
When Serena Jane flees town and a loveless marriage to Bob Bob, it is Truly who must become the woman of a house that she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Truly's brother-in-law is relentless and brutal; he criticizes her physique and the limitations of her healthas a result, and degrades her more than any one human could bear. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques--hidden within the folds of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.
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.)
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Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . Every Action Affects Others
Posted July 10, 2009 by LD , BrocktonThis is a great story and it shows us how every thing we do affects everyone else's life. It leaves you thinking that if Truly had taken different paths in her life, how would that have changed everyone else's life and the choices that they had made.
Truly is certainly a character that leaves you thinking how much love we have to give and how self sacrificing and forgiving we can be.
2 . One of the best!
Posted February 22, 2009 by Mary , PittsburghThis story by Tiffany Baker will be one that I will remember for a long time to come. Truly's story resonates with emotion of the human spirit. It is one story that I was so sorry to see end.
3 . Wonderful!
Posted February 11, 2009 by LLJ , Hudson-WIWhat a fantastic story. I find myself unable to forget about Truly long after I have finished the book. Baker has created a beautifully written book that is worth re-reading (which I rarely do!) I laughed out loud, shed some tears and have recommended it to many friends.
4 . Fantastic!
Posted February 10, 2009 by Cindy , ShorewoodThis is one of the best books I've read in a long time (and I read A LOT of books)! Tiffany Baker is a fantastic storyteller. I can't wait for her next book.
Grand Central Publishing
January 07, 2009
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