MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Mercy Lavinia: Background information when reading The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

A Novel

by Melanie Benjamin

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin X
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2012, 448 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk
Buy This Book

About this Book

Mercy Lavinia

This article relates to The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

Print Review

Though she led an extraordinary and highly public life, few people today are familiar with the main character of Melanie Benjamin's The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. Vinnie Warren Bump In 1841, Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Warren Bump was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts to a long-time well-respected New England family whose lineage can, in part, be traced back to five Mayflower passengers. The descendants of John Billington, Francis Cooke, Edward Doty, Stephen Hopkins, and Richard Warren intermarried many times over the decades - a fact that may have been the source of Vinnie's genetic disorder.

Mr. & Mrs. Tom Thumb The woman who would become Mrs. Tom Thumb grew to be 32 inches tall and weighed 29 pounds, while her sister Minnie was even smaller at 27 inches (though the rest of their siblings were of typical size). Both Vinnie and Minnie had a genetic disorder known as pituitary dwarfism, or proportionate dwarfism, which usually occurs when the pituitary gland does not produce enough growth hormone and results in a regularly proportioned but miniature form.

From a young age, Vinnie made it clear that she would be a worldly, career-oriented woman despite her petite size. She became a schoolteacher at the age of 16, and held the post for some time before a cousin alerted her to her potential for celebrity. She left home in 1858 to work on a Mississippi showboat and then sought her fortune performing for sideshows, circuses, and museums, leaving behind the quiet, pastoral life she had in New England.

Filed under People, Eras & Events

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. It originally ran in September 2011 and has been updated for the April 2012 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Pew
    Pew
    by Catherine Lacey
    A quote often attributed to Leo Tolstoy states that "All great literature is one of two stories; a ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for an Echo
    Waiting for an Echo
    by Christine Montross
    Dr. Christine Montross had been a practicing psychiatrist for nearly a decade when she decided to ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Color of Air
    The Color of Air
    by Gail Tsukiyama
    Daniel was raised in Hilo, Hawaii by Japanese immigrant parents. Having traveled to the U.S. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Woman Before Wallis
    by Bryn Turnbull

    The true story of the American divorcée who captured the Prince's heart before Wallis.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    He Started It
    by Samantha Downing

    A new thriller from the twisted mind behind the mega hit My Lovely Wife.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.