Ruthie is born with a gland issue that causes abnormal growth, she adapts in spite of prejudice. Being different is hard for Ruthie who was born with a pituitary gland issue that causes rapid growth. By the time she is fourteen Ruthie is over seven-feet tall. Her parents Elspeth and James shower her with unconditional love, but have fear around how she will be treated by the outside world. Ruthie is naturally inquisitive but it is extremely hard for her to make friends. She is viewed by her Canadian community as an oddity and people are often very cruel.
Her parents had their own bag of neurosis to deal with having lost so many loved ones during World War II. They worry incessantly over Ruthie who requires hand made clothing and shoes that have to be changed out every few weeks due to her growth spurts. James is good with wood working and learns additional skills in order to make the needed changes to their small, but comfortable home. Doorways have to be changed to accommodate Ruthie. He does it all without complaining. Ruthie is his special girl.
Elspeth works at a factory where she sews clothes and endures the looks of her co-workers women who have seen or heard about Ruthie from the rumor mill. Elspeth who is a bit standoffish (she hears the gossip) eventually finds community among the women she sits with daily.
When Suzy moves next door Ruthie finally gets a friend of sorts. Suzy is manipulative and tells a lot of lies without caring who gets hurt, while Ruthie adores her and will to anything to please Suzy in their one-sided friendship. Suzy calls her “big head”, and makes cruel jokes about Ruthies' special shoes.
Ruthie steals a record album for Suzy and her “friend” reports the incident to the police. As Ruthie flees the scene an unfortunate accident takes place. Ruthie is struck by a logging truck she gets the diagnosis of a secreted gland that will eventually end her life. With this knowledge she learns to adapt even more to her extraordinary condition. Ruthie has such a good heart that it is clear that the ignorance of others is the reason for much of her angst.
As an adult Ruthie visits school children and answers questions with humor and grace about her life. She clearly has a positive outlook on life that others who are considered “normal” can't begin to grasp.
Ruthie cherishes each day for the beauty and opportunity to learn new things.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the story because Ruthie found ways to love herself despite being treated as an outcast.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Ruthie accepted Suzy's love for what it was.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Ruthie's ability to manage being seen as totally unapproachable due to her size.