The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Melanie Benjamin. Delacorte, $25 (432p) ISBN 978-0-385-34415-9
Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump, the diminutive wife of Gen. Tom Thumb, narrates her life story in this vivacious fictionalized autobiography that takes her from a small New England town to a seedy Mississippi showboat and eventually into the entourage of the impresario P.T. Barnum. Born with proportionate dwarfism, Vinnie, a "perfect woman in miniature," rejects a career as a schoolteacher in favor of show business, eventually finding an intellectual soul mate in Barnum and international fame that leads her into the opulence of New York society and meetings with heads of state from the White House to Europe and India. Benjamin (Alice I Have Been) centers the latter half of her tale around Vinnie and Barnum's odd-couple friendship and touchy business relationship, sometimes glossing frustratingly over Vinnie's own adventures—a three-year tour of Australia and Asia is given only a few pages—and leaving the last 40 years of her life untold. But the smart and unyieldingly ladylike Vinnie emerges as an effervescent narrator with a love of life and a grand story worth the price of admission. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Hardcover - 566 pages - 978-1-61173-186-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-71348-3
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-385-34416-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61707-781-4
Hardcover - 283 pages - 978-0-345-52757-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-71351-3
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