Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel…

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Melanie Benjamin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4688422,128 ()43
Title:The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel
Authors:Melanie Benjamin
Info:Bantam (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library, 2012
Tags:2012/11, fiction, historical fiction, little people, circus, book club, sent to mom

Work details

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin (2011)

  1. 10
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Both well-written stories about the performing life. Very different sides of it, and in very different time periods, but both well-written and exciting.
  2. 00
    Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (watertiger)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
This is a work of historical fiction that reads very much like a true autobiography. It tells the story of Vinnie Warren, better known as Mrs. Tom Thumb.

Ms. Benjamin has done a lot of research, and the book provides not only the story of Vinnie's life, but also a look of what the world was like in the 1800s. The parts of the book where Vinnie and P.T. Barnum interact were wonderful. ( )
  LynnB | Jan 23, 2015 |
This is one of those books that I passed by several times and one day simply put in the pile and purchased. I wasn't sure if I would really enjoy it but I found it to be very entertaining. It is not a true autobiography. The facts correspond to Lavinia's real life but the author has used the facts and then built a story told from the subjects POV surmising what her thoughts are based partially on Mrs. Stratton's diaries and partly from imagination.

That being said, it is a fascinating look into the life of a woman in from the mid 1800's to the late 1800's. Although she is small in stature (2 1/2 feet or so) she is larger than life. She was married to General Tom Thumb(a.k.a Charles Stratton) but she was emotionally attached to P.T. Barnum. They had a friendship/relationship that spanned both her adult life and part of his - although both were married (twice) to other people, they had a very strong heart connection.

Lavinia's world is one of human curiosities - a world she chose to join in order to explore the wide world from which her parents tried to shield her. Her adventures are interrupted by the Civil War (and one imagines a whole other story within the story could have been written about she and General Thumb as they traveled meeting soldiers and lifting troop morale for the Union Army).

Don't read this book for facts. Read it to be stimulated to find out more about this fascinating woman - very much a product of her time and as a brief introduction to the world of P.T. Barnum. Books like these are meant to whet the appetite to find out more. An amuse bouche for readers. ( )
  ozzieslim | Dec 28, 2014 |
This work is also a fictionalized, historical novel based upon the life of an often overlooked woman. Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Warren Bump was the wife of “General” Tom Thumb. Vinnie was born with proportionate dwarfism. Benjamin takes her life story from its beginnings to her eventual decision to join show business. Eventually, Vinnie joined P. T. Barnum’s attractions and became internationally famous. Benjamin’s novel centers on Vinnie’s time with Barnum, including behind the scenes views of their business.
  ktoonen | Dec 13, 2014 |
I recently heard a podcast featuring Melanie Benjamin as a guest author. She talked about her desire to make women who may have been lost to history more visible, more "remembered." She has certainly made Lavinia Warren Statton (Mrs Tom Thumb) more visible, which is quite a feat given her small physical stature. At less than 3' tall, Lavinia (Vinnie) was determined, perhaps even ruthless, in her pursuit of an extraordinary life. This fictionalized account of her life shows that this determination helped her see the world, and the world to see her. Yet, this visibility comes at a cost to her own peace of mind. A compelling story about a couple I did not know a lot about, and the tumultuous times in which they lived. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | Jul 6, 2014 |
I received this book from a GoodReads First Reads giveaway.

*on an aggravated note - I just wrote this whole thing and then the internet ate it last night - so this version is going to be shorter* Copy and paste before you click people!!

This book was definitely not what I expected. I was expecting more of a fiction feel to it but I didn't get much of that. The writing was vivid and clear so much so that I really did feel like I was in a different time. I think that is important as many other historicals that I have read are not always able to achieve that. Instead you are left with a rather cheesy experience. This book didn't feel cheesy but it still lacked a bit of something for me.

You really get her personality shining through. How determined she is. But it just didn't grab me and keep me sucked in because I wasn't engaged enough in the story. Ultimately, it wasn't my cup of tea and I wouldn't read it again. If you're one that likes historical fiction then give it a go. Personally, I like my books with a bit more of the 'unreal'.

Favorite quote - funny cause i think its on the jacket -
"Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead I would define it. My size may have been the first thing people noticed about me but never, I vowed at that moment, would it be the last." - pg 23 ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Melanie Benjaminprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guest, Kim MaiNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Dennis, without whom
First words
I suppose it would be fashionable to admit to some reservations as I undertake to write the History of My Life.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
In her national bestseller 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 nineteenth 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.
Haiku summary
Was she too little?
Was the world itself too small / 
to contain her dreams? (LynnB)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

Mid-nineteenth-century little person Mercy Levinia Warren Bump comes of age in the antebellum south before being invited to join the P. T. Barnum circus, through which she meets her future husband, General Tom Thumb, and pursues limitless international opportunities.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
301 wanted1 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.94)
1 2
1.5 1
2 8
2.5 4
3 23
3.5 16
4 75
4.5 15
5 42


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 95,706,041 books! | Top bar: Always visible