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Informative,
Adventurous,
Insightful

6 reviews

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel
by Melanie Benjamin

Published: 2011-07-26
Hardcover : 448 pages
9 members reading this now
19 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 6 members
In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who ...
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Introduction

(In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration?and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.
 
?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.

Photos from Inside The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb


Lavinia Warren

The Marriage of Charles Sherwood Stratton and Lavinia Warren


Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Compare fact and fiction about the main characters.
Understand what dwarfism is and the many types.
Discuss the spunk that Vinnie possessed.
by JanetBower (see profile) 07/20/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Research the facts behind the fiction
by JanetBower (see profile) 07/20/12
I was the facilitator for this book and did much research on the following: P.T. Barnum; Charles Stratton aka Tom Thumb; Minnie Warren; dwarfs; and of course Vinnie Warren Bump. I gave a brief summary of the facts about these real life people. I found photos online of each person, along with an important event, did a copy and paste to have several photos for "show and tell". The visuals made all the difference for realism. Be sure to research the wedding......it's so much fun to learn about.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by elm7597 (see profile) 05/10/17

 
  "Mrs. Tom Thumb"by DotDaly (see profile) 04/07/17

The book was entertaining and provided insight to circus life in the 1800's and early 1900's.

 
by lbbooks (see profile) 08/06/15

 
  "An interesting topic and inspiring story - a little slow"by jaegeral (see profile) 10/15/14

A good book club choice - an interesting story and we enjoyed that it was inspired by real people. Did not know much about P.T. Barnum and the types of acts that were in the show at that time or have... (read more)

 
  "A Woman defined by her character, not her size"by FTessa (see profile) 08/14/12

Lavinia Warren was only 32 inches high, but had ambitions that were not limited by her diminutive size. She was a real person, more popularly known as Mrs General Tom Thumb – the wife of P... (read more)

 
  "The Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb"by JanetBower (see profile) 07/20/12

Fantastically well written.....intriguing.....about a mighty little lady that most of us never knew about. What a joy to know her now! What a great life she created for herself during a time when the options... (read more)

 
  "Little Lavinia Warren Stratton or rather Mrs. General Tom Thumb"by Neyly (see profile) 11/06/11

I liked the book ... at least, I did once Vinnie (Mrs. Tom Thumb) meets P.T. Barnum. Once P.T. Barnum enters Vinnie's life, my interest in the book picked up. I find it fair to say that Barnum steals... (read more)

 
  "Captivating"by jennspeer (see profile) 10/27/11

I picked this book at the library because I had enjoyed her previous work, Alice I Have Been. Mrs. Tom Thumb exceeded my expectations. I couldn't put it down. I was not familiar with PT Barnum nor did... (read more)

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