Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom ThumbThe Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Vinnie Warren was the diminutive woman promoted by P.T. Barnum who became a celebrity and married Charles Stratton, a.k.a. Tom Thumb.

Although fiction, this book is based on historical fact. Born in 1841, Vinnie was encouraged by her family to remain reclusive on her family farm, due to her petite size. She, however, found a great need to leave her mark in life and strived for notoiriety. She found it first on the riverboat with Colonel Wood, a crude huckster, who's mistreatment only ended when the Civil War sent the group to their homes. She later contacted P.T. Barnum and was totally charmed by his personality and promotion.

Her condition, as well as that of a younger sister, Minnie, was a form of "Proportionate Dwarfism". probably cased by a pituitary disorder. Today, such a condition would be given growth hormones.

Although her life was quite fascinating, I found that I did not like Vinnie. She seemed to possess an arrogance of spirit that caused her to mistreat those around her, wrongly assisgning guilt to others as well as herself. As a person of such petite dimensions, she did overcome many obstacles, which is to be admired.

Historical events are only touched upon, such as Vinnies' meeting with General Grant and his family and of she and her husbands' stay at the Lincoln White House.

Vinnie died in 1919.

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