Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Girl Giant by Kristen den Hartog

The Girl Giant by Kristen den Hartog
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publish Date:  June 5, 2012
ISBN:  978 - 1451656176
Pages:  240

James and Elspeth met in England at the end of WWII.  After the war, she traveled by ship to Canada with the other girls going to marry their Canadian boyfriends.  She had little left in England, her immediate family had all perished in the war.

In 1947 James and Elspeth had a healthy baby girl weighing just over eight pounds.  In the next year, Ruth began to grow at a rapid rate.  So fast, that Elspeth couldn't keep up making her clothes.  Ruth spends her time feeling alienated by her peers and longs for friendship.  By Kindergarten she no longer wants to go out to see other children, she knows she'll be ridiculed and teased.

It's easy to belive that when a girl moves in next door, unsavory as she is, that Ruth makes friends with her and loves her unconditionally.  When Elspeth has to return to England for family business, her family falls apart. 

Ruth wants to believe that Suzy is her friend, but more and more Suzy seems to be doing things and denying things to make Ruth distrust her.  She'll tell Ruth a story and then Ruth will say something and she won't remember the story she told.  But Ruth continues to try to believe in Suzy.  

Meanwhile, James has taken to finding comfort somewhere else entirely.  It seems that he believes Elspeth is above him and he doesn't deserve her.  But he loves her so much and isn't sure how to tell her or show her.  Elspeth has lots of time to think about their marriage while she's gone and she believes that James is above her and she doesn't deserve him.  They've gone so long without really sharing themselves, that it might be too hard to start over.

The story is narrated by Ruth, but for some reason she's privy to the thoughts, feelings and actions of her parents.  It was odd, but effective.

Altogether it's a very sweet story of a girl who grew too much, too quickly and just wants to be normal.  

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