Jane's Reviews > Big Girl Small

Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin
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Jan 22, 12


At one point in Big Girl Small, protagonist Judy wonders whether it is worse to have someone love you because you are different or if it is worse to have someone love you in spite of that.

I think that summarizes Judy's central struggle throughout the book. As a sixteen-year-old dwarf, Judy gets treated differently by others because of who she is. While she's generally a smart and well-adjusted young woman, Judy naturally at times longs for lanky limbs and a normal life. She wants to be seen as more than just her 3'9" height, yet she realizes that her dwarfism is irrevocably intertwined with who she is and that those who seek to understand her must ultimately acknowledge her height and how it has affected her life. A paradox! I like it.

Kyle. There was so much more that could have been done with Kyle's character. There was so much more that I wanted to know about him. However, I respect DeWoskin's decision to leave us in the dark about him because in many ways, that's true to the novel and true to life. You don't always get to know everything.

This book doesn't work unless the reader believes that Judy loved Kyle. I believed it. Like Judy, I believed at first that he was sweet and a good guy. I believed that she realized that it was just teenage love, but that it still felt more real than anything else. And so I believed that she was able to rationalize, deny, ignore the signs that perhaps Kyle wasn't quite so wonderful after all.

Finally, Judy herself is a flawed protagonist. She can be whiny, judgmental, shallow, and inconsistent, as teenage girls are wont to do. I appreciated that Judy's family and friends were very much supportive, present, and developed. The novel does tend to meander and wander for the first half before the plot starts to snowball-- whether or not that's a real criticism depends on how you much you enjoy hanging out with Judy's narrative voice. Unfortunately, I also managed to guess what the terrible cause for Judy's hiding out was far before it was actually revealed. That got rid of a lot of the suspense.
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