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The autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb : a novel
Melanie Benjamin
Adult Fiction BENJAMI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump, the diminutive wife of Gen. Tom Thumb, narrates her life story in this vivacious fictionalized autobiography that takes her from a small New England town to a seedy Mississippi showboat and eventually into the entourage of the impresario P.T. Barnum. Born with proportionate dwarfism, Vinnie, a "perfect woman in miniature," rejects a career as a schoolteacher in favor of show business, eventually finding an intellectual soul mate in Barnum and international fame that leads her into the opulence of New York society and meetings with heads of state from the White House to Europe and India. Benjamin (Alice I Have Been) centers the latter half of her tale around Vinnie and Barnum's odd-couple friendship and touchy business relationship, sometimes glossing frustratingly over Vinnie's own adventures-a three-year tour of Australia and Asia is given only a few pages-and leaving the last 40 years of her life untold. But the smart and unyieldingly ladylike Vinnie emerges as an effervescent narrator with a love of life and a grand story worth the price of admission. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This follow-up to Benjamin's Alice I Have Been is loosely based on the life of Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump, who married world-famous "little person" Charles Stratton (aka Gen. Tom Thumb). Benjamin tells Vinnie's story from her upbringing in a modest but proud Massachusetts family to her early forays into show business on a seedy riverboat to her eventual fame and fortune as one of P.T. Barnum's popular attractions. In an essentially arranged marriage, she reserves her emotional intimacy for Barnum and her sister Minnie, with tragic results. VERDICT Vinnie's first-person narration grabs you from the opening pages, providing hints of the absorbing and entertaining story to come. The novel is also a delightful cavalcade of late 19th-century Americana, as you travel with Vinnie up and down the Mississippi, head westward via the expanding railroad, and hobnob with New York's rich and famous. Those interested in "behind the scenes" of show business will be equally entranced. [See Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]-Christine -DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Mercy Lavinia Warren "Vinnie" Bump
Stood only 32 inches tall; refused to let her family coddle and protect her; became a teacher briefly; wanted to lead a more exciting life; joined a showboat touring the Mississippi; left there to join P. T. Barnum's circus; agreed to a a public showing of her marriage to Tom Thumb.
Circus performer

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