• The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

  • A Novel
  • By: Melanie Benjamin
  • Narrated by: Kim Mai Guest
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (181 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In her national best seller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a 19th century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.

“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”

She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.

Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie’s spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours.

©2011 Melanie Benjamin (P)2011 Random House

What listeners say about The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Like a curtain call we get to enjoy the superstar showpeople from 150 years ago. How the author came upon this character and brought her back to life is amazing.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Long and drawn out!

A constant repetition of pity party, self loathing and self incrimination followed by more victimization and pity party. By mid story, I decided Mrs. Tom Thumb was a self-absorbed narcissist. At times, the narrator’s over dramatization of grief and recrimination caused me to fast forward to the next chapter. I gave up 2 chapters before the end - weary of it all.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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tedious and overwrought

The book was very disappointing. The characters are painfully simplistic and predictable. The premise is great...the execution horrible.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Tad Dull

I think I was expecting this book to be a little bit weirder and maybe funnier, instead it is a very earnest, prim account of Mrs. Tom Thumb - at times an interesting snapshot of the era, but it left me wanting more.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Story of Courage

I enjoyed this book very much. It kept me interested over two nights of listening. I found myself wishing that I could have met her, Mrs. Tom Thumb. She was a feminist when the word "feminist" was not in our vocabulary. She died before women had the right to vote, but I believe if she had lived in modern times she would have made a great, Congresswoman or President of the United States. This is one book that never disappoints. A book to be shared.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Small people big impact!

I must admit I have never considered the challenges faced by little people. Door knobs to high, clothing that does not fit, chairs they cannot get into, steps to high and this book was an eye opener to their plight. Melanie Benjamin does a good job making her listeners more aware of situations faced by others (I also listened to Alice I Have Been.) I have to thank her for making me a more considerate person. Kim Mai Guest presents Vinnie (Mrs. Thumb) with a sweetly irritating voice which eventually I suspected was done to remind the listener this story is about a person not 3 feet tall. I am not sure I would recommend this book but I am glad I listened.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

Great story well written and the marathon was fantastic.
I give this audiobook 5 stars . It’s a fascinating
All the narration’s were tops . The very best yet.

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Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumbs surprising biographies.

I found this book surprising, enjoyable, and yet frustrating as well. I plan to read it a few more times in order to understand Mrs. Tom Thumb better.. She was a surprising young woman of many complex emotions, from deep love to paralyzing fears, both founded on deep reaLities.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Miniature woman larger than life

This historic novel is a believable narrative of what the interior life of Lavinia... Mrs. Tom Thumb might have been. The author suggests motives and sensibilities that are very believable and made me wish I could explore the original documents she obviously had explored and studied to create the dynamics of so many interesting relationships.
Her suggestion that her relationship with PT Barnum was among the most meaningful relationships of her life was well developed. More recently I had read a number of emotionally heavy stories... Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Cutting for Stone, so I was looking for something a little lighter and with some Americana in its tone so it definitely hit the spot. Well written, and satisfying, the Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is a good listen/read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Riveting read! 👍👍

I was so very taken with Vinny's character! A very strong female character, with an amazing and tragic life story!

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