Book review: "The Giant’s House"
Vail CO, Colorado
According to Peggy Cort, the lonely, and inept at human interaction, small-town librarian protagonist of The Giant’s House, librarians are not all bitter spinsters.
Really, it all depends on what your definition of a spinster is though. If the standard dictionary definition is at all believable, than Peggy Cort is indeed quite the spinster.
Living an altogether unspectacular life filled with the disappointment of never being able to help people to quite the extent she’d like to as a librarian and the never ending loneliness of a person who leaves work to sit by themselves in their apartment, Peggy Cort is in prime position for having something sort of peculiar occur in her otherwise unremarkable life. And that something peculiar is James Carlson Sweatt.
James Carlson Sweatt, the boy who grows exponentially with age, is just twelve when he walks into Peggy Cort’s library at six foot five inches tall. And it takes little time for Cort, at least in hindsight’s memory, to admit that she fell in love with him near immediately.
It takes the same amount of time for her to insist that the feeling had nothing to do with sex or sexuality, or even anything other than the love a librarian feels for a reader who truly utilizes her skills, she insists that it was something much deeper.
With a sub-title of “A Love Story”, it’s clear that more than a professional relationship will be blossoming; it’s how it blossoms that is both off-putting at times and terrifically sweet at others.
From their first meeting, author McCracken weaves the story of James and Peggy as it very well might appear in real life. The obsessive illogical thought processes, the feeble attempts at creating a relationship out of just about nothing. Everything seems just a little too awkward, and the whole time, Peggy seems just a little too comfortable with the awkwardness.
McCracken is quite a talented writer, the book reads like an autobiography, and pretty much feels like a true story the entire time. The characters are filled to the brim with personality, and whether, as the reader, you agree with their specific personalities (or actions), it is impossible to deny that McCracken crafted real-life people here.
What’s most endearing though in The Giant’s House is just how honest it all is. McCracken pulls no punches, allowing her characters to make human decisions and human mistakes. Few books, and authors, allow such vulnerability in their main characters and although it is heartbreaking at times, McCracken made a wise decision in allowing her characters to be that vulnerable.
In the end, McCracken ends up with a beautifully sorrowful tale of unrequited and unaccepted love, and ends up with a dazzling love story that is hard to put down, and although it’s at times hard to accept just what is happening, it’s even harder to accept how others are reacting to it. The Giant’s House will make any thoughtful person re-think what love actually means, and how they choose to express that love. For that McCracken should be commended.