Dwarf: A Memoir of How One Woman Fought for a Body-and a Life-She Was Never Supposed to Have
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dwarf: A Memoir of How One Woman Fought for a Body-and a Life-She Was Never Supposed to Have

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  392 ratings  ·  75 reviews
It's okay with me if you picked up this book because you're curious about what it's like to live with dwarfism. But I hope that you'll take away much more--about adapting to the world when it won't adapt to you."--from "Dwarf "
A memoir of grit and transformation for anyone who has been told something was impossible and then went on to do it anyway.
Tiffanie DiDonato was...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Plume
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dwarf, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dwarf

September Ends by Hunter S. JonesCircle of Five by Jan RaymondThe Master's Plan A Novel About Purpose by Stephany TullisLife of Pi by Yann MartelWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Best Books for a Book Club
223rd out of 317 books — 327 voters
Stones from the River by Ursula HegiThe Lives of Dwarfs by Betty M. AdelsonElven Silver by The Silver ElvesIn the Little World by John H. RichardsonThe M Word by Kerry Clare
Books about Little People
10th out of 34 books — 5 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,631)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Emily
Tiffanie DiDonato writes a memoir of her struggle to overcome the diastrophic dysplasia, a form of dwarfism, that she was born with. She endures massive amounts of pain in order to add a few inches to her frame, which might not seem like a lot, or that it was worth it, but for her it was the difference between being able to live a normal life with independence, or having to forever rely on her parents or a caregiver to help her with simple things like making a cup of coffee, getting milk out of...more
Terry Steen
This was very poorly written. The author is also very narcissistic; others in her life are drawn two-dimensionally. I felt no emotion from or towards her. I have no sense that she has aspirations or depth. I only finished the book because it was for book club and it is really too bad that she had no co. -author or better editing because this was likely much more harrowing and interesting than depicted.
Audrey
I was so looking forward to reading this book since I'd first seen the cover and blurb on Edelweiss all those months ago. The cover looks quirky and fun, and just like DiDonato says at the beginning of the blurb, I really wanted to know firsthand what it's like to live with dwarfism. Sadly, the book just didn't deliver on any of those counts. Instead, this is one woman's story about her own life up until her very early thirties. Still, it could have been compelling, except that I just did not ca...more
Emily
It was....OK. I picked it up because I like medical memoirs since I have my own medical issues. But I didn't like the attitudes of her or her mom. I can't imagine my parents not agreeing on a treatment plan for me, and then going ahead and doing what ONE wanted, versus the other. Taking care of a kid with medical issues is an all for one and one for all deal.

I also don't know how I felt about her additional surgeries. For me, additional surgeries can't "cure" my problem. They can help, but I'm...more
Kath McStay
This is the flat out, honest and intimate story of the life of a woman. She is a warrior in her own right, and it kept me glued to the pages from the moment I opened the covers of the book,

Very shortly after her birth, her parents were informed, coldly and with no information that their newborn daughter suffered from a form of Dwarfism called Diastrophic Displasia. Her parents learned that is form of dwarfism causes a malformation of the joints, and cartilage. From the very earliest days surger...more
Orsolya
Won on Goodreads Giveaways

The average person is probably unaware that Dwarfism is a catch-all term for over 100 different versions of the condition. At least, I certainly didn’t. Suffering from Diastrophic Dysplasia (short stature, joint deformations); 31 year old Tiffanie DiDonato looks back on her life in, “Dwarf: How One Woman Fought for a Body – And a Life- She Was Never Supposed to Have”.

“Dwarf” introduces Tiffanie’s story in a very approachable and friendly manner. DiDonato’s tone is cas...more
Tima
A 3.5 rating, really. I almost gave it 4 stars but the writing itself was pretty blasé.

It's worth a read and tells a different side of a story, a controversial side. I have great respect for her choice and the strength it took for her to get through it.

But, I mean, the writing left a lot to be desired. And since she studied writing at Dartmouth and is currently a writer for a magazine, I'm surprised she hired a ghost writer and it *still* came out like a lazy high school essay.
Melissa
This book is yet another shining example of why not all autobiographies are meant to be read just as not all life stories are meant to be shared. I do not, in any way, want to take away from what this woman went through with her disability, but I found myself disliking both her and her mother with a passionate intensity.

Probably my biggest beef with Tiffanie was the way she told her life story. It almost seemed like she wanted to over emphasize how horrible her life was before her radical, and a...more
Shawna
A happily-ever-after type of story. The tone of it really hit me the wrong way at times. I had a moment early in the book when I piece of throw-away dialogue caught my ear the wrong way and I literally stopped and said, "She did not say that." Not something you want in a memoir. Another element of the book -- not to give too much away -- a very traumatic event, and she spends one chapter on it and moves on. I, having had a similar event happen to me, wondered why she wasn't having a little bit m...more
Becky Sandham Mathwin
Ms. DiDonato was born with a form of dwarfism and underwent several bone lengthening surgeries in order to ultimately reach 4'10" in height (very short but still within the normal range of height for an adult woman). Although Ms. DiDonato's story was interesting, I couldn't really get into this book completely and ended up skimming sections. The medical component and the portion of the book that dealt with her life as a late adolescent and an adult were of interest to me but I wasn't as interest...more
Ginny
I have just finished Tiffanie DiDonato's Book Dwarf a Memoir. I have to say how much I loved this book, and found a kindred spirit.

Through the difficult years of Tiffanie's surgery and lengthening; things were hard, life was hard. But, bravo to Tiff's mum to see that there is an opportunity to change Tiffanie's life for the better and she acted on it. You know, it is easy to say that this procedure sends waves through the dwarf community because of the perceived message that being small (or dwar...more
Carin
I do adore memoirs, and as an avid watcher of "Little People, Big World" and "The Little Couple," this was a perfect diversion.

Tiffanie has a rare form of dwarfism, and doesn't realize it herself for many years, until she's in school, because her parents never bring it up. She doesn't realize all the doctor's appointments, surgeries, and the tricks she has to do around the house for things like getting a cereal bowl and turning on light switches, are unusual until after she ends up stuck in the...more
Sarah
Tiffanie was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a form of dwarfism. At an early age, her height peaked at 3 feet, 8 inches. She couldn't reach the sink without a stool. She would never be able to reach the gas pedals of a car. She couldn't even touch her own ears. Tiffanie decided to undergo a series of bone lengthening surgeries to give her more height. She spent the majority of her adolescence recovering from operations, adjusting to her braces and crutches, and being aware of her distinct physi...more
Michele
I read this book for fairly obvious reasons. While my daughter has gone through the limb lengthening process for different reasons, I certainly related to the process. I think Tiffanie did a fantastic job in writing this book - while the limb lengthening process was the means to the end, I think she did a great job explaining her life in between the surgeries. And I feel like for so many of the kids who go through this process, it's the years in between the surgeries that define their lives.
It...more
Brian
I saw there were several three star reviews, and I didn't go into this book with super high hopes, however I really did enjoy reading Tiffanie's story. She was born as a dwarf, and underwent several painful surgeries in order to what every day people do: reaching and turning doorknobs, even touching her ears. I really thought it was down to earth and well written. If I personally was born as she was, I might have done the same things, because if there is a procedure to correct a physical ailment...more
Rebekah
I found this book interesting, but also frustrating to read at the same time. I found myself feeling a lot of compassion for her father as the book went on. He seems to be the dog everyone likes to kick, and take for granted. I found her mother very harsh, unsympathetic, and at times horrifyingly caustic. I understand that facing the long term medical care needs of Tiffanie meant that a certain level of toughness was required, but her mother took things too far many times. It seemed that the mo...more
Lacie Taylor
This is a remarkably inspiring tale of a woman's desire for independence and the lengths she was willing to go to gain it. I highly recommend this book, I rarely say this, but if I ever get the chance to meet this author it will be an honor.
Patty
Tiffanie DiDonato had lots of surgeries since she was born, but the two biggest were to lengthen her bones. They cut through the upper or lower leg bone, added metalwork and she had to turn the screw daily to increase the length between the two bone sections, then the bone grew more bone to adjust. On both legs. What a horrific thing to go through. It did add 4 inches to her height which helped her be able to do daily tasks easier. She writes with a terrific sense of humor, yet still letting us...more
Wendy Mcmahan
I like Little people. I know they have a tough life being so small and short. I can understand the struggles that they go thur. I am would love to make friends with little people.

This is Tiffanine's story on why she chose to have her surgeries to give her unprecedented fourteen inches of height. She wants her independence. She did good telling the story. I would have liked to see more pictures of her.

Now that's she a mother. I wonder how has her life changed. I know being a mother is wonderful...more
Jodi
Apr 14, 2013 Jodi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Wow! I wanted to keep reading this story about this very determined young lady! She was born with "dwarfism" and she let nothing stand in her way to achieve what she wished for herself. She let it all "hang" out there as far as her parents' sometimes rocky relationship and her gruesome surgeries to gain 14 inches in height. She said that some people criticized her for this decision but I feel it is solely hers to make. She didn't go through the surgery to feel more beautiful or not "fit in." She...more
Dawn
On May 3, 2013 by Dawn


I’ve always had a mild interest in dwarfism.

OK, that kinda sounds bad, let me explain.



When I was a kid, there was a kid a few years older than me. His name was Michael, and his mom and my mom were PTA friends. I’m honestly not sure when I realized Michael was different. To me he was just Michael, the older boy who could never be bothered to talk to us kids, but had an awesome skateboard. When I grew older it actually led to an uncomfortable confrontation once, as someone to...more
Jenny
Taken from my blog at www.takemeawayreading.com


I first saw this book while perusing the local Barnes & Noble and was instantly drawn to it. There's often a lot of inspiration to be found in learning about how someone has overcome struggles in their lives. I didn't realize it, but the author was on Good Morning America in 2008 discussing her experiences. (Not sure how I missed it since I have been a GMA aficionado for years). But anyway, here is the video if you're interested.


Watch More News...more
Pamela ☼where's my aspirin☼ Tee
Kudos to the designers of this book's cover. It drew me in, sparked a question in my mind so that I tracked this book down and read it.

WRITING STYLE:
Simplistic. Too detailed in some places, not detailed enough in others. There were parts that seemed superfluous, and sections where the drama was HIGH but the writing wasn't good enough to capture the moment, which is a darn shame because Ms. DiDonato has accomplished some simply amazing things.

As for the book in it's entirety:
For me this book see...more
Robin
I am terribly afraid of surgery and am intrigued by this story of a woman who willingly had several in order to change the circumstances of her life. I peeked ahead -- I know she's happy and found it worth the pain.

This was a pretty straightforward memoir about grit and determination in the face of enormous challenges. I enjoyed it. It would have been a much stronger (and to me, more interesting) book if it had included more background information about diastrophic dwarfism and greater detail an...more
Jo
DiDonato was born with a form of dwarfism and this is her story. She tells of growing up and her endless surgeries to add extra height to her bones. What comes through is her amazing spirit and her will to keep going no matter what. By the end of her book, she'd graduated college, married a Marine and was pregnant with her first child. Brilliant and inspiring memoir.
Giulia Fiora
A truly inspiring story of Tiffanie DiDonato, who fought for her independence and struggled through surgieries and pain to reach it. Of course this story has a typical happy ending. I will admit I was a skeptic when I first picked up this book. I've heard a lot of controversy about bone lengthening surgeries and wasn't sure if I agreed with her decision. I beleive that each case is situational and if I were in her shoes, I don't think I would have had the courage to do what she did. I also belie...more
Amanda
Very interresting story about a girl growing into a woman and trying to find a way to be independent.

Tiffany has a rare form of dwarfism. As a young child, she underwent bone lengthening surgery which allowed her more independence than she'd previously had, but there was still so much that she could nit do herself. So, in her teens, Tiffany decided to undergo more bone lengthening, and when i was all complee, she stood four feet, ten inches tall.

Tiffany went through so much and she did it, not t...more
Angela
Interesting story of a girl who made the tough decision to have many body altering surgeries in order to be a more "normal" size.
Joni
I won this book on Goodreads giveaway

My daughter struggled with her height when she was younger; nothing as extreme as the author of this book but she struggled. At the age of 10 my daughter asked for growth hormone shots, and I was shocked that my child would inject herself with a needle to be taller.

It helped to get her a little taller, to me no big difference, but to my daughter it was a world of difference.

My point, I understand how this young lady felt. It also gave me some more understan...more
Brenda Bourgeois
A friend recommended this book to me and couldn't be more grateful. Tiffanie's story touched my heart, not only because she is from my hometown, but more because she refused to settle for less than she wanted. I was so amazed at the things she went through to get the full life she wanted. Truly awe-inspriring. Her mother was amazing as well, never let her feel as if she was any different than others or that she couldn't get the life she wanted. Fantastic book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 54 55 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward
  • Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: a Memoir
  • American Gypsy
  • Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In
  • Dancing Dogs: Stories
  • Walk Like a Buddha: Even if Your Boss Sucks, Your Ex Is Torturing You, and You're Hungover Again
  • The Day My Brain Exploded
  • Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality
  • Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir
  • In Stitches
  • Replacement Child
  • Road Song: A Memoir
  • 5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space
  • Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On
  • The Girl Who Fell to Earth
  • The Second Rule Of Ten (A Tenzing Norbu Mystery, #2)
  • French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley (Book 1)
  • I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag: A Memoir of a Life Through Events--the Ones You Plan and the Ones You Don't

Share This Book

“I was unstoppable, slamming down on the keys as if I were playing before a packed concert hall. Write! Write! Write!” 2 likes
More quotes…