Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

Synopsis: 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.

My thoughts: Oh, I fell in love with this book! This is my first Melanie Benjamin book and it did not disappoint. I found myself wishing that I didn't have to work just so I could go back to my reading.

I was captivated with the story that was filled with historical facts that I was not aware of (though I know some of these facts might have been embellished). I found it very interesting how every chapter had an "Intermission" where one or two historical articles gave the reader insight as to what was happening in the U.S. during the time of the story. Also, I greatly enjoyed how these facts were interwoven with Vinnie's story and how she tried to make a big name for herself. The facts made the story richer.

I also fell in love with the characters. Though she was a very tiny woman, Vinnie was brave and strong-willed. She went out against her parents wishes so she could achieve her dreams. Yes, she could have been a little heart-less but this only made her more human. General Tom Thumb was an innocent man who wanted to be loved by everyone. I thought he was such a sweet soul and it made me feel bad how Vinnie put a distance between them in their married life. P. T. Barnum was an admirable character and I greatly enjoyed the fact how he treated Vinnie as his equal. Though I did have to admit that I suspected him to do something bad throughout the book. And then there's Minnie, Vinnie's little sister. Oh, I just loved her! The way these characters were described in the book made me admire the actual people they were based on.

In all, this book has now become one of my new favorites. I loved the fact how it had me hooked from the beginning, how it taught me valuable facts from history, and how it made me tear up towards the end. I haven't read Melanie Benjamin's first book, Alice I have Been, but I sure want to now!

I give it:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vonnie - what a great review! So this is a fiction based on real life? Cool! It sounds like an awesome (and uniquely educational) read!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, new follower!

    Ana @ BookSpark