The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb : A Novel

3.71 (10,177 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.71 (10,177 ratings by Goodreads)

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For anyone who loves the historical novels of Sara Gruen, Geraldine Brooks, and E. L. Doctorow, a barnstorming tale of an irrepressible, brawling, bawdy era and the remarkable woman who had the courage to match the unique spirit of America's Gilded Age.

She was only two feet, eight inches tall, but more than a century later, her legend reaches out to us. As a child, Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and became the world's most unexpected celebrity. Vinnie's wedding captivated the nation, preempted coverage of the Civil War, and even ushered her into the White House. But her fame also endangered the person she prized most: her similarly sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie's spotlight. A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams--and whose story will surely win over yours.

Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

BONUS: This edition contains a timeline, an interview with Melanie Benjamin, and an excerpt from Melanie Benjamin's Alice I Have Been.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 27mm | 397g
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0385344163
  • 9780385344166
  • 581,099

Review quote

"By turns heartrending and thrilling, this bighearted novel recounts the life of an extraordinary woman in lush, meticulously researched prose. I loved it!"--Sara Gruen

"[Melanie Benjamin] knows how to combine research and readability. And she's given Vinnie such dignity and courage . . . that her heroine commands attention from the first page."--The Washington Post

"Remarkable, soaring . . . a spellbinding tale . . . a fascinating story of triumph and tragedy and one person who refused to live a small life."--BookPage

"Melanie Benjamin enfolds the reader in the intimate world of Lavinia Warren Stratton, better known as Mrs. Tom Thumb, [whose] voice is unflinching. . . . That the characters have faults and regrets, as well as hope, adds to the veracity of the novel."--The Denver Post

"A narrative voice that is feisty, intelligent, brave, adventurous, and resourceful."--The Boston Globe

"Grabs you from the opening pages, providing hints of the absorbing and entertaining story to come . . . a delightful cavalcade of late nineteenth-century Americana."--Library Journal
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About Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Children's Blizzard, Mistress of the Ritz, The Girls in the Picture, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, The Aviator's Wife, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and Alice I Have Been. Benjamin lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
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Rating details

3.71 out of 5 stars
- 10,177 ratings
5 19% (1,917)
4 42% (4,290)
3 31% (3,190)
2 6% (612)
1 2% (168)

Our customer reviews

This was a beautifully-written book. I liked how Benjamin made something researched so readable. Her storytelling was strong and solid. The pace was good and story was rich in detail without being cumbersome. It's as though Vinnie wrote this book herself. Vinnie's character was so well infused in this autobiography. One particular moment stood out to me: When Vinnie was hired as a teacher, she asked for her wage. Everyone must have thought it amusing as they broke into "helpless guffaws". Later she understood that people found it very odd to hear such a request coming from a person like her - small and female, what more, a female with no other prospects, to be asking for salary. What was offered to her, was she "suspected was likely and act of charity". Did she get her salary in the end? But of course :) I liked how the author developed Vinnie's relationship with the characters. Each were given equal attention, with more on Barnum and rightly so as we will find out where Vinnie's heart really was. Although the strength of her relationship with Minnie was brought in later in the story, I could feel their bond and love for each other. And what happened to Minnie later in the story made me cry buckets. It showed me what a big person Minnie was despite her size. For a full review, go to hookedonbookz.comshow more
by A_Bookaholic
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