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Friday, April 5, 2013
The Giants House; Elizabeth McCracken
Title: The Giant's House: A Romance
Author: Elizabeth McCracken
Publication Year: 1997 Publisher: Avon
Source: my shelves
Setting: Brewsterville, MA (Cape Cod)
Date Completed: April - 2013
Set in the 1950s, but told some 25 years later, The Giant's House is an unusual story. Peggy Cort, the narrator, is the stereotypical small town librarian. Single, lonely, set in her ways. She prefers order and structure in her life over the possibility of real happiness that a relationship has to offer.
Peggy tells the story of the time when she first met James Carlson Sweatt, He walked into the library one day when he was just 11 years-old. He was 6'2" tall and still growing. Peggy found his interest in learning fascinating, for someone so young. She was always anxious to help him find books on the topics that interested him. It isn't until later when he grows bigger and bigger that she learns that he has an illness that will eventually kill him, because he will never stop growing.
Peggy then becomes somewhat obsessed with James. She uses sneaky means to find out where he lives and find out what his home situation is, She visits him when he is hospitalized, and when his mother dies, she is there to comfort him, visiting him at the home of his aunt and uncle where he lives. This goes on for some 10 years.
Why does Peggy take such a special interest in James and begin to fall in love with someone so ill, someone who is16 years younger than her? Why does she become possessive and jealous of James, though they can never be more than friends? Is it because she knows he will die? It is hard not to feel for James and his situation in this book. Teased and tormented by other children in school, his mother's death and his illness that prevented him from a normal childhood and young adulthood.
Peggy on the other hand was an unsympathetic character in my eyes. I saw her as almost a coward, even though she really cared for James. She was never willing to chances in life and put herself out there, for the fear of possible rejection and disappointment.
It certainly is an unusual story and the ending was most unexpected, but I have to say that I am happy I finally read it. It's a book that has been on my shelves for over 10 years. If you are looking for a different type of story you might like to try this one.