Judith's Reviews > The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
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's review
Aug 25, 12

I listened to this as an audio book in my car, and I noticed after awhile that I kept making excuses to myself to run errands so I could listen to more of the story. It was absolutely delightful. I had never heard of this person before the book and I had to check online to make sure she was a real person (though the story would have been a good one regardless). I was fascinated by the pictures of this tiny woman who was a miniature person, but not a dwarf or little person. In other words, she was perfectly proportioned, only small.

The story of her life is made more interesting by the segments between chapters containing newspaper and magazine accounts of historical events that were actually occurring at the time. She lived during the Civil war era and actually met General Grant and President & Mrs. Lincoln, as well as Kings and Queens. She and her husband, Tom Thumb, were the darlings of New York society and all of their activities were avidly followed by the press. Their wedding, organized by P.T. Barnum was the event of the year and started a trend of families setting up little mock weddings for children who would pose in full wedding regalia for photographs.

I liked hearing about the country growing with the new railroads, the new inventions of the phonograph, telephone, and her favorite: the elevator. After years of climbing grueling flights of stairs and straining her back and her knees, she and her husband were delighted to ride an elevator to stay in the top floor of a hotel (only to have a fire break out that night!)

I really like stories told from the perspective of a person who goes through life challenged by physical differences, so this was right up my alley.

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