I read Benjamin’s Alice Have I Been a few years ago. In that one, she creates a novel around the young lady who supposedly inspired Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t really like it very much, but I’d heard that The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb was worth a shot, so I grabbed it when I saw it at Half Price Books. I’m glad I did — it was a good story with a fascinating cast.
“That’s just it, don’t you see? I don’t want to be taken care of! I don’t want be hidden away, a burden! I want to make my own way! To have a greater purpose!’”
Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but had massive dreams and aspirations for herself. She taught school, managing to control students easily twice her size, and strove to constantly improve her own education as well. When she was a teenager, she got the opportunity to travel — something she’d always wanted to do. Granted, it was as an act on a showboat — but it eventually lead her to fame and fortune as a member of P.T. Barnum’s crew, as well as her marriage to General Tom Thumb.
Despite the title, this is most certainly a novel. Benjamin surely did her research, but we’re given 100% access to Vinnie’s thoughts and concerns throughout the book. Still, it’s fascinating — both the character of Vinnie, whom I loved, and the world she lived in and people she loved.