Author: Melanie Benjamin

A Classic Case of Telling and Not Showing

Posted on November 21, 2016 «
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book review mrs tom thumb benjamin

Book Review
The Autobiography of
Mrs. Tom Thumb

by Melanie Benjamin

A few years ago I read Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin which was a behind the scenes fictional look at the life Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). I enjoyed the novel and came across Melanie’s second book, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb around the holidays that same year and acquired it via some gift cards I had received. And then it sat collecting dust on my shelf and maybe it should have stayed there.

The Best Thing about
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

The best thing about The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb can be summed up in one word…Lavinia. This is the given name of the real Mrs. Tom Thumb. Lavinia was the heart and soul of this novel. Her quick wit and humor poured off the page. When she was in the middle of the action, the scenes sung and sped by. I wanted to sit down have coffee with Ms. Bump for a couple of hours. I’m sure her biography, which is sadly incomplete, is fascinating.

The Worst Thing about
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

The book is slow and plodding. It’s probably the most solid example of a book that tells you what happens and doesn’t show you. There are these brief snapshots of action (escaping from the southern states at the outbreak of the Civil War, a fire in Milwaukee), but the rest of the story is just Lavinia telling you, “I decided to do this.” or “I decided to do that.” It doesn’t take much for Lavinia to make up her mind and take action on ANY THING (well, there is one thing, but I don’t want to spoil that!) and she just sets out and does what she sets her mind to.

As a result, all the conflict in the story is not driven from internal character stories, but from external sources that are not people related. (Lavinia, despite her size, steamrolls over people when she wants to get something done.) Due to the time period, it takes a long time for events to happen because travel is slow, news travels slows, everything happens sooooo sloooowly.

 

Another #ShelfLove Book Off My Shelf

The second best thing about The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is that it means another #ShelfLove book is off my shelf. And while the novel wasn’t the action packed book I was hoping for after reading Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet and re-reading Water for Elephants, the moments of Lavinia taking charge of her life and speaking her mind will stay with me for a time.

 

book review mrs tom thumb benjamin

 

The Quick Book Review



A Classic Case of Telling and Not Showing

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Author: Melanie Benjamin
Published on: July 26, 2011
Pages: 424
Genres: historical fiction, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Down

About Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, as well as the national bestseller ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be out in January 2016. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons. She's currently at work on her next historical novel.

from GoodReads



Second Run Reviews Recommends

A Classic Case of Telling and Not Showing

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet

Author: H.P. Wood
Published on: June 7, 2016
Pages: 368
Genres: historical fiction, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Up

 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Read my review.
A Classic Case of Telling and Not Showing

Water for Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen
Published on: May 1, 2007
Pages: 369
Genres: adult, mystery, historical fiction
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Down
Read my review.

 

 

 

 


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