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The Girl Giant: A Novel Paperback – Jun 12 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451656173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451656176
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 12.8 x 18.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #759,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Schmadrian TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 30 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this novel under its original title, 'and me among them'. As I had read two of the author's other books, I was expecting a minimalist effort chock full of casual observations that leaned towards the profound, good character sketches that didn't seem strenuously composed, all placed on an uncomplicated frame. And that's what I got: 'and me among them'/'The Girl Giant' is the indie film as opposed to the mainstream box office hit. Within its stylistic genre, it's a pleasant accomplishment. However...

I'll concede that I may well be the only reader who was affected by the use of a 'first-person, semi-omnicient' narrator, but it essentially flavoured the novel so much that it became more of a presence to me than the tale itself. I was, in turn, mystified by the choice, annoyed by it, and at the worst of times, creeped-out by it. That Ruth, the main character, would have access to so much that she simply could not have had access to, unsettled me, effectively kiboshing my enjoyment of the story. Further, I'm not convinced that having it told by Ruth at all was the best choice; first-person narrations can be either so limited as to lessen the telling's effectiveness, or inconsistent with the character's capabilities. For me, Ruth's telling was affected by both of these notions. (What would have worked for me would have been either third-person omniscient, or a mix of this interspersed with Ruth's contributions.)

As well, I did not understand why she referred to her mother and father by their first names. Again, I felt a muddling of narrative choices, and some intimacy was lost by calling them James and Elspeth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A touching, bittersweet story June 13 2012
By bookreader "Melanie" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ruth, the narrator of The Girl Giant, cannot stop growing. She outgrows her baby clothes on an almost weekly basis, is almost five feet tall her first day of school. She is taller than her parents while still in elementary school and soon she is over seven feet tall. Her parents must knock down walls and doors and the roof in the house to accommodate their daughter's growing body.
She's an outcast at school, where her classmates won't play with her and instead, mock her. Her father, James, is haunted by his WWII experience, while her mother, Elspeth, a British war bride who lost her parents to a bombing, wonders about the life she left behind. The story takes place in the 1950's before gigantism is fully understood. Ruth's doctor says all is fine. Elspeth refused to acknowledge the problem also and James is not strong enough to insist on a second opinion. With her parents preoccupied with their own problems, Ruth retreats into her own world, until she meets her first friend.
But Ruth struggles to find her place in the world and accept herself. This novel is a bittersweet story that is so well written. It is a short book, but definitely a must read. I read it in two days, and loved this story. The author really makes you feel so much empathy for the character of Ruth. Although Ruth is not a real person, this book is based on the real issue of gigantism.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Marvelous Jan. 11 2013
By mykl-s - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A fascinating piece of writing, this book by Kristen den Hartog. A review by Lisa Sanders speaks of its "quiet charm," and I cannot but agree. It is quiet, but much happens in its 220 pages. The narrator Ruth, our giant girl, tells her own story in first-person, but also knows the stories of both her parents, all their secrets, hopes, fears. She knows their stories in ways they would have never told her. She is a magical creature, remarkable for her understanding more than for her size. I don't know of another writer able to pull off what den Hartog has done here.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
easy read June 18 2012
By Vicki Madden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Put yourself in someone else shoes. Author did a good job of making the characters personalities come to the reader.
A gentle tale, and yet..., May 30 2013
By Schmadrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
read this novel under its original title, 'and me among them'. As I had read two of the author's other books, I was expecting a minimalist effort chock full of casual observations that leaned towards the profound, good character sketches that didn't seem strenuously composed, all placed on an uncomplicated frame. And that's what I got: 'and me among them'/'The Girl Giant' is the indie film as opposed to the mainstream box office hit. Within its stylistic genre, it's a pleasant accomplishment. However...

I'll concede that I may well be the only reader who was affected by the use of a 'first-person, semi-omnicient' narrator, but it essentially flavoured the novel so much that it became more of a presence to me than the tale itself. I was, in turn, mystified by the choice, annoyed by it, and at the worst of times, creeped-out by it. That Ruth, the main character, would have access to so much that she simply could not have had access to, unsettled me, effectively kiboshing my enjoyment of the story. Further, I'm not convinced that having it told by Ruth at all was the best choice; first-person narrations can be either so limited as to lessen the telling's effectiveness, or inconsistent with the character's capabilities. For me, Ruth's telling was affected by both of these notions. (What would have worked for me would have been either third-person omniscient, or a mix of this interspersed with Ruth's contributions.)

As well, I did not understand why she referred to her mother and father by their first names. Again, I felt a muddling of narrative choices, and some intimacy was lost by calling them James and Elspeth.

Having said all this, in looking at the reviews of others, I can certainly understand why 'and me among them' would charm and hold such a dear place in their hearts, and that my observations would be seen as the quibbles of someone not aligned with the stylistic approach the author takes when she writes. My only response is that I'm nevertheless looking forward to Ms Den Hartog's next offering.
The Girl Giant comes up short April 27 2013
By Andrew Keyser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Girl Giant by Kristen den Hartog shares the struggles of Ruth Brennan, a giant trapped in a little girl's body. From an early age Ruth began growing to exceptional size, surpassing all her classmates in a matter of months. As she continues to grow her parents become worried, both for their daughter and for their loss at not having a normal child. Ruth's uniqueness doesn't come only from her size, but also by her ability to understand the deepest parts of everyone she meets. This is not only a story of a family coping with change, but also how one should never judge a person based only on what they see.

This book, conceptually, has some great points. Teaching a story of acceptance through the eyes of a girl giant seems poignant. The execution falls flat however, and after a few pages, it is obvious this book doesn't deliver on its premise. Weak writing, cliché story and dialogue, and boring plot make The Girl Giant not worth the time

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