Since birth, Truly Plaice has been freakishly large and presents a startling contrast to her dainty sister Serena Jane. When their father dies, the girls are sent to live in separate households – Serena Jane to lead a pampered life in town, while Truly moves to an impoverished farm at the edge of the community. Over the years Truly continues to grow more and more enormous and is an object of curiosity and ridicule among the townsfolk. She befriends Amelia, the painfully shy daughter of her host family, as well as Marcus – a talkative, scrawny boy from school. She also finds contentment in tending to the farm horses who do not mock or judge her appearance. Meanwhile, Serena Jane is forced into an unhappy marriage with the town doctor Bob Bob Morgan. Eventually Truly finds herself drawn back to the town to care for her nephew and protect him from his manipulative father. Here she discovers the healing powers of a family heirloom and her research has dramatic consequences.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
The story is told in Truly’s voice, which can be disconcerting as she recounts conversations and events for which she is not present. While we feel sympathy for her, Truly presents a sullen personality to the reader which makes her a difficult character to warm to. The novel does provide an interesting contrast in the treatment of attractive vs unattractive people and the impacts of bullying. There were some wonderfully written passages and the location of the herbal cures was an interesting surprise. There were also some deliberate gaps in the narrative. For instance the author does not describe Truly in any detail and we never learn exactly how tall she is. In addition, although there is reference to the Vietnam War, there is little sense of time or place in the novel.