Book Review: “Big Girl Small” by Rachel DeWoskin

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 8:12 am

Judy Lohden is a sixteen year old girl who’s starting out at a new elite performing arts school and she has all the drama that goes along with that situation–making new friends, finding her niche, liking a boy, wondering if a boy likes her, going to parties, facing peer pressure. All the usual sort of things, except for one thing: Judy is a little person, which amplifies everything.

Instead of just being “the new girl”, she’s the new dwarf.

While most of Judy’s classmates act awkwardly around her, a few people don’t seem to make a big deal out of Judy’s being a little person. It just so happens that one of the ones who doesn’t make a big deal about it is the boy Judy has a crush on.


Life seems to be going exactly as Judy wishes it when she auditions straight into Senior Voice as a Junior (which means she’ll be in the same class as her crush, Kyle), when Kyle offers to take her home after school, when Kyle wants to sleep with her.

But her “everything’s-going-my-way” life comes to a sudden stop when IT happens.

It’d be bad enough if it had happened to anyone–it’s even worse because Judy’s a dwarf, and therefore pretty recognizable.

Judy takes off to a sketchy motel where she hides away from her family, her friends, and the media.

This is where Big Girl Small opens: with Judy in her motel room, playing over the events of the school year again and again.

I don’t know exactly how to sum up this book, or how to express my feelings regarding it.

I liked how the story was told: in first person, flipping back and forth between the present (in the motel) and the past (during the school year). Judy’s voice portrays what she is: a smart but still definitely teenaged girl.

The storyline was coherent, was engaging in a “morbid curiosity” sort of way.

The content was… overwhelming.

This isn’t a YA novel, but it’s similar to YA in that it’s full of tense topics and shocking actions. There’s sex, underage drinking, marijuana use, lying… and, um, gang-banging.

All of this is treated as completely normative, except for the last bit, which is sort-of discouraged (by way of encouraging boys to homosexual encounters.)

Which is why…

I can’t really say what I think of this book, or whether I would ever recommend it to anyone. It’s definitely a very mature book–but I’m not sure that it has enough redeeming value (even in terms of entertainment value) to overlook the “mature” content.

Rating: ?? 2 Question Marks
Category:YA-like adult novel
Synopsis: Judy Lohden (a little person) is hiding out in a motel after a scandal disrupts her junior year of high school.
Recommendation: I don’t think I’d recommend this, but I’m not sure.

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