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Little

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,812 ratings  ·  680 reviews
The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy stree
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Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Riverhead Books (first published October 4th 2018)
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ALG I haven't actually read the book yet; it's on my list. But having read the description and reviews, and having read about Madame Marie Tussaud's life,…moreI haven't actually read the book yet; it's on my list. But having read the description and reviews, and having read about Madame Marie Tussaud's life, I think the book may be loosely based on her life, but I get the impression it was not written or meant to be read for historical accuracy.

Marie Tussaud supposedly made a death mask for Marie Antoinette, but I've found no references to her having anything to do with the queen's birth (Marie Antoinette was Austrian and she didn't live in France until she got married at age 14). Tussaud was also born in France, not Switzerland, though she lived there in her childhood.

Fwiw, I'm going to approach it from a standpoint of pure entertainment rather than trying to fit pieces together. But again, I haven't read it so I may be wrong.(less)

Community Reviews

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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,812 ratings  ·  680 reviews


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Beata
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not long ago I read a biography of Mme Tussaud, and though it was interesting, there was some dryness in it due to the fact that the author incorporated a lot of history into the book, which is understandable taking into consideration in when Marie lived and how much the Revolution affected her life. LITTLE is at the other end of the stick. The novel is about Marie and how she saw the world. If I were asked to use just one word that best describes this novel, I would choose ‘observations’. Marie ...more
Beverly
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Greendale
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A fictionalized retelling of Madame Tussaud, known for her wax figures of famous (and infamous) persons, sprinkled with grim illustrations and wry observations. Carey initially hooks his audience with the amusing, macabre first-person voice of young Madame Tussaud, christened Anne Marie Grosholtz at birth. The early years of her life - filled with sorrow, gore and intrigue - are easily the best chapters of the book.

However, the narrative really slows down around the midpoint and, shifting into
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Rebecca
(4.5) Little is Edward Carey’s deliciously macabre novel about Madame Tussaud, who starts life as Anne Marie Grosholtz in Switzerland in 1761 and loses both parents by the age of six. Known as Marie, she soon picks up the nickname “Little” at the studio where she helps Dr. Philip Curtius make wax anatomical models. When the indebted Curtius flees to Paris, Marie goes with him as his servant. Along with their landlady, a tailor’s widow named Charlotte Picot, and her son Edmond, they form a makesh ...more
Donna
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Little did I know when starting this book that there would be little historical accuracy within its pages and little regard for the reader when the author was more bent on writing a farce than anything resembling a true to life story with well developed characters who speak in natural dialogue. Instead, the author has created what reads like a stage play, peopled by one dimensional marionettes that jump to his tune.

How did I find out this book was inaccurate when it came to chronicling the life
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Jennifer
Little is a re-imagining of the woman behind the famous tourist attraction: Madame Tussauds, a wax museum that displays wax sculptures of famous people and popular characters. Loosely based, Little follows this resilient woman from birth as Anne Marie Grosholtz to age eighty-nine as Marie Tussaud, along with the transformation of an abandoned monkey house into the start of a wax empire. French culture, history, royalty, war, death, art, life, and love...it all melts together in this lengthy piec ...more
Heidi The Reader
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A historical fiction novel about Madame Tussaud, otherwise known as Anne Marie Grosholtz, and how she became a legendary wax maker.

"I was not much bigger, at first, than the size of my mother's little hands put together, and I was not expected to live very long. And yet, after I survived my first night, I went on, despite contrary predictions, to breathe through my first week." pg 14, ebook

And though it is "historical fiction," rather than biography, Edward Carey has written many true facts into
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Diane S ☔
I am at 40% and for now am putting it down. Will come back to it after the holidays as it seems to take more concentration than I have available right now.
Will
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The description of Edward Carey’s Little intrigued me. It sounded like something I would enjoy, and the GR reviews were terrific. I hadn’t, however, read any reviews from critics so I was still a bit wary and approached the novel not knowing what to expect. It took me by surprise and caught me totally off-guard. I was immediately captivated by the story of the orphaned Marie, known as Little due to her small stature, and the numerous hardships she faced as the apprentice/servant of a wax sculpto ...more
Cindy Burnett
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Little is the tale of Madame Tussaud (born Anne Marie Grosholtz) from her young life as an orphan through her time at Versailles with King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and then ultimately as the individual who established the wax museum she is still known for today. Carey includes clever drawings of various items throughout the book relating to the subject at hand, some fascinating and others at times a bit macabre, and each drawing adds depth to the book. My favorite part of the book is the i ...more
Betsy Robinson
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
None of us had a large understanding of the tides of man; each knew only his little portion. For some it was hair, for others teeth; one concentrated on eyes, another on paint; one mixed the wax, another prepared the plaster. No one could see beyond his own individual station. Only together did we make the anatomy of a city in change; only together did we render things legible to all. (336)
I was wondering what kept author Edward Carey dedicated for the fifteen years it took to birth this remarka
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lucky little cat
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone except stickler historians (Not even Tussaud knew the facts of her life)
Recommended to lucky little cat by: Gloria
Ooh, it's just stuffed with stuff. Wax heads of the famous and infamous, scruffy orphans, hide-and-seek in Versailles,
Young Marie Tussaud with her doll Marta, Edward Carey's loving "fake Jacques-Louis David portrait." Marie's covering her face to preserve a little privacy, but also to hide how much she looks like Carey.

plasterer's craft, Enlightenment philosophers, inky fingerprints, peg dolls and mannikins, creaky attic ateliers, secret friendships, one wistful boy, Empress Josephine and
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Creager
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am astounded. I am charmed. I am awaiting the manifestation of pure joy this enchanting book will be for the ages. Anne Marie Grosholtz is as tall as the human heart but her outlook is to the moon. Orphaned at a young age, this child is apprenticed to a physician whose wax modeling lends a twist of the macabre and is a precursor to Marie’s wondrous involvement with French royalty, a revolution, and museums. Complete with elucidating illustrations, Little is a bold imagining of Madame Tussaud. ...more
Judith E
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a slow start for me because Maria Grosholtz (later evolving into Madame Tussaud) starts her trade by making wax replicas of diseased or removed body parts. It was quite grotesque and the characters and speech patterns were strange and baffling. But after that, I found this to be an extremely addicting read.

Maria starts her trade while an orphan, horribly treated by her guardians. She hones her skills and absorbs the training in order to garner praise. Her life’s journey takes her throu
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Ace
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not the kind of person that wants to go look at celebrity or famous figures at a waxworks museum so I wouldn’t normally have chosen this book out of the pile of historical fiction to read right now. However, a good friend here on GR recently read it and loved it so I thought I would trust his rare 5 star rating and give it a try. I also know nothing about the French revolution and much less about Madam Tussaud. This is a long and educational book for the likes of me and whilst I did look up ...more
Doug
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded down.

This is a lively, entertaining and informative look at the life of Madame Tussaud, of the waxworks fame, and for the most part I really enjoyed it. The beginning I found slow, and there were certain sections which were a bit plodding and could have used some judicious editing. And although it apparently was based on both Madame's own memoirs and exhaustive research into records of the period, Carey fictionalizes the story quite a bit (according to a quick read of her Wikipedia
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Dan
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Edward Carey’s Little is a pleasure to read: a wonderful story, well told, carefully structured, and beautifully illustrated with Carey’s own drawings. Set in eighteenth century Switzerland, France, and England, Little introduces us to a cast of characters, each distinctive and dramatic, who develop and mature over almost ninety years. At Little’s center, there’s “Little”— Anne Marie Grosholtz—herself. Born to a striving servant, indentured to Doctor Curtius, a failed physician and wax modeler o ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Please follow all my reviews on https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com.

Little is an unusual story of a determined young girl who makes a life for herself against all odds. After her father dies, Marie (Little) and her mom go to live with a reclusive and peculiar doctor, Curtius who creates objects out of wax. When Marie’s mother dies, she stays on as his apprentice. The tides turn financially for the doctor and he loses his funding from the hospital, so the unlikely twosome head to Paris. With th
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Mila
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
4,5 stars

This novel turned out to be such a pleasant surprise for me, the wonderful, strange and all around fascinating story of Little, later known to the whole world as Madame Tussaud. This book captivated me, made laugh and cry, I rooted for Marie so hard throughout the whole book because she's such an amazing and peculiar woman, you want her to succeed and be happy. This particular novel mostly tells in detail her life in France, before she opened her own business in London. And I'd love to
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Cheryl
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Abandoned at 50%. Historical fiction based on the life of Madame Tussaud. I didn't like the writing style: it was all "telling", not "showing". Although there were a ton of quirky characters, I didn't feel like I got to know any of them. They just felt flat and lifeless. Even Marie ("Little") seemed very distant, and so I couldn't really sympathize with her. I did enjoy the illustrations in the book.
Demi
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, I love her. Marie has such a wonderful, sharp, eccentric little voice (no pun intended), and she lives in an incredible time in French history. The art is a delightful addition—it fits right in with Marie’s personality. Just marvelous.
MaryannC. Book Freak
4.5 Stars

I absolutely loved this! This was my first Edward Carey read and I was enthralled with it!
I loved Little's character, her narration as she grows up to become the famous historical figure known as Madame Tussaud. This was a little macabre, but so enjoyable and well written, also loved the sketches throughout which it added to the visualization of this story. Recommended
Gloria
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Born in 1761 and nicknamed “Little” for her petite size, homely Marie Grosholtz rises to become the famous Madame Tussaud, creator of eerily realistic wax images. An orphaned servant girl lives in the employ of an eccentric doctor whose unique talent is making body parts from wax. As she grows up in Paris, her own skills in molding wax into human heads emerge drawing the attention of the very rich and very poor alike.

Ghastly recreations of murderers sit alongside wax heads of the royal family,
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Cecily Sailer
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So delightful, absorbing, filled with oddities, morbidities, tenderness, and artistic achievement. In this fictional rendering of the life of Madame Tussaud, she is her own narrator, shifting between different homes, lacking agency but still infused with power. Suddenly orphaned at a young age, she begins to learn the art of molding and wax-casting early, under the tutelage of an eccentric and isolated man. This skill will place her in the path of the most prominent figures of late 1700s France ...more
Sally
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book came to me unexpectedly. I don't know who recommended it, or where I read about it, but there it was at my library with my name on it. I almost just turned it back in.

But I opened it to read the first page and it grabbed me. It took me a few pages to realize that this book was probably about Madame Toussad. What an interesting and unknown subject. Soon there were illustrations to go with the words and these illustrations depicted what the words had described, only better.

Marie Groshol
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JD Mitchell
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is like Wes Anderson made a movie and then Charles Dickens turned it into a novel. It’s quirky and the writing is good, but it just didn’t do it for me. The main characters reminded me of the wax figures they create: lifelike and interesting to look at, but disappointing if you expect them to do anything or change very much. I knew this was a novelization of the woman who became Madam Tussaud, so I kept waiting for the titular character to grow into herself, to assert herself, but except fo ...more
Tammy
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a new favorite book! This is so different from the books I've been reading lately! While trying to compose my review in my head, I ran across this review that says it better than I could, so I quote:
"Little is that rare thing - a unique novel with a unique and fully-realised voice, rich in deadpan wit and surgically precise observation. By turns tragic, bizarre and deeply moving, Little introduces readers to a heroine like no other and a book that will truly last. It is an absolute deligh
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Jackie
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
2.5 to 3. It’s an alright book. It lost a star because no where did the author say this was loosely based on a real life person. So I can see someone wrongly thinking it was fact. Additionally it was so overly dramatic... the drawings were good though
Taryn Pierson
Dec 18, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: fiction, 2018-release
I have GOT to stop it with the literary fiction. It hasn't worked between us since 2011 but I keep backsliding and sending it late-night "u up?" texts.
Claire McAlpine
I have been looking forward to reading this for a while and finally after telling a few friends about it and them reading it before me, I picked it up so I could join the conversation.

It's a wonderful read, following the extraordinary life of Anne Marie Grosholz, born in 1761 in a small country village in Switzerland, who moves to the city of Berne with her fragile and easily frightened mother to work for a young, reclusive, eccentric Doctor Curtius, a home-based Doctor obsessed with anatomy and
...more
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Edward Carey is a writer and illustrator who was born in North Walsham, Norfolk, England, during an April snowstorm. Like his father and his grandfather, both officers in the Royal Navy, he attended Pangbourne Nautical College, where the closest he came to following his family calling was playing Captain Andy in the school’s production of Showboat. Afterwards he joined the National Youth Theatre a ...more
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“What casual monsters we are. What calamities we are capable of.” 6 likes
“So I learned not only that your loved one may be forbidden you, given away to someone else, but also that though you love someone they may run from you, and you may open your arms but they shall not come in.” 3 likes
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