Monday, September 12, 2011
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb...Review
“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”
She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” 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 transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.
Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger 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, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, 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.
A fictionalized account of a real woman, but unfortunately one that I just couldn't get into. Vinnie wasn't a woman I could care ever about. She was selfish and vain and only cared about herself and her younger sister who was small like she was. She wasn't very considerate of her husband, her marriage was not a true love match and there are suggestions that Vinnie truly loved P.T. Barnum instead.
Much of Vinnie's story is left to speculation or an assumption that the reader already knows what has happened. At one point in her travels, Vinnie visits Utah and the author's portrayal of Mormons is very cliched and stereotypical, rather than accurate and genuine.
I found nothing heroic or inspiring about Vinnie or her story. I can't recommend the book.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.