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Big girl small / Rachel DeWoskin.

By: DeWoskin, Rachel.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Melbourne : Text Publishing Company, 2011Edition: First edition.Description: 294 pages ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781921758249 (pbk); 1921758244 (pbk).Subject(s): Teenage girls -- Fiction | Dwarfs -- Fiction | High school students -- Fiction | Adolescence -- Fiction | Young adult fictionGenre/Form: Contemporary fiction. | General fiction.Summary: Judy Lohden is your above-average sixteen-year-old: sarcastic and vulnerable, talented and uncertain, full of big dreams for a big future, with a singing voice that can shake an auditorium. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town? The fact that the national media is on her trail after a controversy that might bring down the whole school could have something to do with it, but it also has something to do with the fact that Judy is three feet nine inches tall.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Big Girl Small is a novel for women of all ages; for every girl who is, or was, a teenager. Everybody needs a friend like Judy. She is whip-smart, hilarious, and her story is so real. She's a wonderful singer, full of big dreams for a big future - and she's a dwarf. But why is she hiding out in a seedy motel on the edge of town? Who are her friends? And why can't she face her family? Big Girl Small is a gut-wrenching teen-tragedy told with laugh-out-loud humour. Every reader will recognise the anxiety of trying to be different, to be the same, to find out who you are and what your hormones are doing, and what you might want to do in the future. Most of us don't really know, and this brave novel shows us that's just fine.

Judy Lohden is your above-average sixteen-year-old: sarcastic and vulnerable, talented and uncertain, full of big dreams for a big future, with a singing voice that can shake an auditorium. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town? The fact that the national media is on her trail after a controversy that might bring down the whole school could have something to do with it, but it also has something to do with the fact that Judy is three feet nine inches tall.

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

  1 When people make you feel small, it means they shrink you down close to nothing, diminish you, make you feel like shit. In fact, small and shit are like equivalent words in English. It makes sense, in a way. Not that small and shit are the same, I mean, but that Americans might think that. Take The Wizard of Oz , for example, an American classic everyone loves more than anything even though there's a whole "Munchkinland" of embarrassed people, half of them dressed in pink rompers and licking lollipops even though they're thirty years old. They don't even have names in the credits; it just says at the end, "Munchkins played by 'The Singer Midgets.'" Judy Garland apparently loved gay people, was even something of an activist, but she spread rumors about how the "midgets" were so raucous, fucking each other all the time and drinking bourbon on the set. People love those stories because it's so much fun to think of tiny people having sex. There was even an urban myth about how one of the dwarfs hanged himself--everyone said you could see him swinging in the back of the shot--but it turns out it was actually an emu. Right. A bird they got to make the forest look "magical." And what with the five-inch TVs everyone had in those days, the two-pixel bird spreading its dirty wings apparently called to mind a dead dwarf. In other words, people wanted it bad enough to believe that's what it was. Magical, my ass. I know that small and shit are the same because I'm sixteen years old and three feet nine inches tall. Judy Garland was sixteen too, when she made Wizard of Oz , but I'm betting she must have felt like she was nine feet tall, getting to be a movie star and all. I should have known better than to try for stardom myself, because even though my mom sang me "Thumbelina" every night of my life, she also took me to Saturday Night Live once when we were in New York on a family vacation, and it happened that the night I was there they had dozens of little people falling off choral risers as one of their skits. My mom almost died of horror, weeping in the audience. Everyone around us thought she was touched, that all those idiots on stage must have been, like, her other kids. Like they were my beautiful Munchkin brothers or something, even though my mom's average-size and so are my two brothers. They'd even have average lives, if only they didn't have me. My mother's idea has always been to try to make me feel close to perfect, but how close can that be, considering I look like she snatched me from some dollhouse. Nothing on Saturday Night Live is ever funny, but the night we went was especially bad. One of the little people even got hurt falling off those risers, but no one thought anything of it, except my mom, who made a point of waiting for an hour after the show was done, to ask was he okay. I was furious, because everyone who walked by us kept saying "Good show" to me. I would never be in anything of the sort, by the way, because my parents don't believe in circus humiliation. That's what my college essay was going to be on, freak shows and the Hottentot Venus. Most people don't know that much about her, except that she was famous for having a butt so big the Victorians couldn't believe it. So they made her into an attraction people could pay money to stare at and grope. I bet you didn't know, for example, that her name was Saartjie, or "Little Sarah," or that she even had a name. The "Little" in her name is the cute, endearing version of the word, not the literal little . Or even worse, belittle , which, by combining be and little , means "to make fun of." I think I would have included that definition as, like, the denouement of my essay, after the climax, where I planned to mention that after her nightmare carnival life, Little Sarah died at twenty-six and they preserved her ass on display in a Paris museum. She was orphaned in a commando raid in South Africa; otherwise maybe none of those terrible things would have happened to her. I have parents, thankfully. And they always tried to keep me private. I don't mean they hid me in a closet or anything, but they also didn't let people take pictures of me when we traveled or touch me for money. And when people stared, even kids, my parents stared back, unblinking, but friendly-like. The thing is, you can't blame kids for staring. Not only because I'm miniature, but also because I'm a little bit "disproportionate." That's what they call it when the fit of your parts is in any way off the mainstream chart: "disproportionate." Maybe your arms or legs are too stumpy or your torso is small and your head is huge. Or maybe you're just you, like Saartjie Hottentot, and it's only relative to everyone else that you're disproportionate. Maybe someday they'll think disproportionate dwarf is a rude expression and they'll come up with a nicer way to put it. I think most people know now that Hottentot is considered a rude word. Maybe not, though. Most people are stupid as hell when it comes to things like which words are rude. And a lot of people, even once they find out which words hurt people, still like to use them. They think it's smarmy and "PC" to have to say things kindly, or that it's too much pressure not to be able to punish freaks with words like freak . Anyway, my parents would never even let me audition for American Idol , even though I can really sing, because they know Simon Cowell laughs at all the deformed people. It's complicated, since my mom and dad would never admit that my "situation" qualifies, but they still have to protect me. Because of this quandary, they finally broke down and agreed to send me to a performing arts high school last fall for my junior year, which is what caused this whole hideous nightmare in the first place. Maybe my parents should have admitted that dwarfs are better off cloistered or hanging in some forest of Oz, and saved me the humiliation of having tried to pretend I'm fit to attend a flashy school. My parents are five feet six and six feet one, but they're on every board of every dwarf association in the world, and they use the words little people like there was never any other way to put it. They take me to "little people" conferences and manage to blend right in. So maybe from their dreamy bubble, it seemed possible that my "stellar academic performance" and charming personality would earn me popularity and favor among the rest of the kids, that I'd be a beloved Lilliputian among the Brobdingnagians. That's not how it turned out. I should say right here, though, that what happened is not my parents' fault, and that I don't blame them. They're probably frantic right now, or dead from ulcers or heart attacks. I know they're searching for me, and the thought of it makes me physically sick. I guess because I love them. But I can't come out of here yet, don't know when I'll ever be able to rejoin the world. Because most of society, including Darcy Arts Academy, is nothing like my parents. You can get a sense of the difference if you take a look online. I'll give you an example. Google "little people" and you get 8 million hits, most of which are for stumpy Fisher-Price figures with no legs. If you look up "small people," you get under a million (but at least one of the first two is the charming lyric "short people got no reason to live," preceding a story about tiny ancient people who hunted rats and lizards near the Java Sea). Call it predictable, but if you search "midget," you get 21 million hits, about 20 million of which are YouTube videos of "midget fights," "midget bowling," or "midget Michael Jacksons." There's also the really nice website TinyEntertainer.com, with its "Rent a Midget" logo scrolling across the screen like breaking news ticker tape. And if you type in "midget girl," you get nakedmidgetsex@hoes.com. Maybe up in the big world it's difficult to understand why midgets might hate the word midget , but here, I'll help. The Little People's Association explains it like this: the term has fallen into disfavor and is considered offensive by most people of short stature. The term dates back to 1865, the height of the "freak show" era, and was generally applied only to short-statured persons who were displayed for public amusement, which is why it is considered so unacceptable today. Such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all acceptable, but most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label. "Fallen into disfavor." I love that. So everyone can call me Judy, even after I get a job as a hot porno midget escort, because there's nowhere else for me to go from here. It's funny how I've reached the bottom of something, but up is still not an option. My parents named me Judy accidentally, by the way, without realizing that Judy Garland was a dwarf mocker. Judy has always been my mom's favorite name, and who doesn't love that Klimt picture of Judith holding Holofernes' head? Maybe someday there'll be a picture of me holding Kyle Malanack's head, although it'll be a smudged newspaper photo, ripped digitally from the security camera of a parking garage or something. I doubt people will produce millions of prints for dorm rooms. Although maybe they will. Some kids love a villain. I was brilliant in school, by the way. You have to be smart as well as talented in some other, "artistic" way to get into Darcy. Maybe that will be the next story, when it breaks, when they find me here. The sequel. Lots of Darcy kids being like, "She seemed so, well, normal !" Except they'll have to stop themselves: "I mean, not normal, but you know, sweet"--except they'll have to stop themselves there, too, because I wasn't sweet, exactly, was kind of sarcastic, for a doll of a girl. "Well," they'll have to concede, "after what happened to her, I mean, who wouldn't lose it?" They all know what happened. It's too horrible to contemplate, and I wish I didn't know. What they should say is that I was too smart for my own good, that it would have been better to be an animal, not to know what I was missing, not to have been able to see my life. A little bit of ignorance would have saved me. What good is there in seeing your situation clearly if there's no escape from it? I'd love to hear the story of my academic genius, if there were any way of interpreting it other than that I've had to overcompensate every second of my life. Here, news media, here's a sound bite for when you find me: if you're born saddled with a word like Achondroplasia, you learn to spell. If the first boy you dare love pulls the worst Stephen King Carrie prank in the history of dating, then you run and hide. Because who can love you after that? Maybe your parents. But how can you face them, when you've all spent so much time convincing each other that you're normal? All I'm saying is, if you're me, and you can't reach a gas pump, pay phone, or ATM, and your arms and legs are disproportionately short, and your mouth is too impossible to kiss without it becoming a public carnival, then you don't get to be included in anything but the now obsolete, original meaning of the stupid word normal . Which, believe it or not, according to the OED , is rare . So I'm the rare dwarf at the Motel Manor on the outskirts of Ypsi, close enough to my parents that they should have found me by now, and maybe in more danger than I can guess at. And you know what? I don't care. I hope the story ends here. It's fine if it does. I mean, that way I'll be the dream come true of all those hopeful Oz watchers, waiting for a dwarf to hang. Thumbelina, Thumbelina, tiny little thing. Thumbelina dance, Thumbelina sing. Thumbelina, it makes no difference if you're very small, for when your heart is full of love you're nine feet tall. Copyright (c) 2011 by Rachel DeWoskin Excerpted from Big Girl Small: A Novel by Rachel DeWoskin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The transition to high school is fraught with opportunities for confusion and heartbreak. Add in the challenges of transferring to a fancy arts school and of being 16 years old and only 3'9" tall, and coming of age takes on a whole new character. Judy Lohden possesses a great voice, a tiny body, compassionate parents, and a need to strike out on her own. She manages the initial challenges of finding her way around the social politics of Darcy Academy but gets derailed by a handsome senior who thoughtlessly takes advantage of her crush, betraying her on video and pushing their story to the national media. VERDICT It's worth the read to spend nine days with Judy as she hides out in the Manor Motel and reflects upon her life and events that propelled her into hiding and finds her way back into life, a little older and much wiser. The layering in of what it feels like to be seen as disabled gives an old story line new depth. Sure to appeal to fans of coming-of-age fiction and readers who enjoyed DeWoskin's acclaimed memoir, Foreign Babes in Beijing, and her debut novel, Repeat After Me. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/10.]-Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

DeWoskin's daring third book (and second novel after Repeat After Me) takes on sexual politics, physical beauty, pity, and violence, and succeeds in giving readers a nuanced and provocative treatment without descending into pedantics or hysteria. Bright and sardonic Judy Lohden, a 16-year-old dwarf freshly enrolled in Ann Arbor's Darcy Arts Academy, falls victim to "the worst Steven King Carrie prank in the history of dating" at the hands of popular boy Jeff Legassic, who becomes an object of desire as soon as he and Judy meet cute the first week of school. The book opens with Judy hiding out in a seedy motel; throughout the novel, she slowly unveils her secret and reveals her two visions of herself-that of a pretty teenage girl with an hourglass figure who happens to be three feet nine inches tall, and that of a sideshow attraction. It's a rare author who is willing to subject her protagonist to the extreme ranges of degradation and redemption to which DeWoskin subjects Judy; thankfully, she manages it beautifully. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Hiding out in a seedy motel room on the outskirts of Ypsilanti, Michigan, 3-foot-9-inch Judy Lohden narrates, in an epic dwarf download, what transpired when she transferred to a performing-arts high school her junior year. Tired of being protected by her concerned parents, Judy lobbies to transfer to the elite school, convinced that her powerful vocal skills will ensure her a place in the popular clique. And she seems well on the way to realizing her ambitions after she makes a huge impression at her auditions and is placed in senior voice. She quickly makes friends with two quirky female students and develops a crush on handsome and popular Jeff Legassic. But what starts out as an innocent infatuation quickly descends into a sordid relationship when she discovers that Jeff is not the easygoing charmer he first seemed. A sex tape released on the Internet catches the attention of the national media, and Judy not only must process her personal trauma but also deal with the fact that her humiliation has gone viral. DeWoskin deftly captures the often vicious dynamics of adolescents, which mask their fragility, and creates in Judy an unforgettable character, one who is, by turns, sardonic and heartbreakingly vulnerable.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

DeWoskin (Repeat After Me, 2009, etc.) combines two reality-TV staplesteenage sex scandals and little peoplein this story about a gifted high-school junior whose struggle to fit in is compounded by her height (3'9").Judyshort but a gifted writer with a huge singing voicehas just transferred from public high school to Ann Arbor's elite Darcy Arts Academy. She's not sure if the popular Darcy kidsbeautiful, seemingly friendly Ginger in particularare mean girls and mindless hunks or just adolescently neurotic, but Judy quickly makes two genuine if nerdy friends. She also develops an immediate crush on Jeff, who moved to town only a year ago and seems nicer than the other kids in his crowd. Soon after he talks to Judy flirtingly at a Halloween party, Ginger comes over to Judy's house and warns her that Darcy boys can't be trusted. But when Jeff offers Judy a ride home one day shortly before Thanksgiving, she can't believe her luck. They have sex. She's sure she is in love although he does not treat her like a girlfriend in public, so she doesn't tell anyone. They continue to have occasional sex until the February night he asks her over and tells her about causing his younger sister's death when he was drunk. They end up drinking with two of his friends. Judy wakes up at his house the next morning naked, with no memory of what happened. Soon enough she learns that a tape is circulating at the school showing her having sex with all three boys. Because of her height, she is considered "handicapped," and everyone considers her a tragic victim, making her humiliation worse. She tells her story while hiding in a seedy motel until she is ready to return home to her loving family and friends.DeWoskin creates a compelling voice for Judy and performs neat literary magic, confronting the stereotypes of teen fiction even as she uses them to pull the readers' heartstrings.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.