Book Review: The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice by Nathan Leslie

The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice by Nathan Leslie

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Number of pages: 204
First published: 2012 (October 30st)
I got this book: from Atticus Books via Netgalley, ebook
Genre: coming of age, fantasy

This is my third book by Atticus Publishers. Without Netgalley I would not have found them. Their books, at least the ones I’ve read, are short, quirky and fun: about a man who becomes a hermit in a decorative garden (The Bee-Loud Glade), or about a man who discovers he has Eskimo blood and decides to go whale hunting (The Snow Whale) and then this book, The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice, about an orphan who is sent from crazy aunt to crazy aunt and finds a home nowhere.

The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice: What it is about

From the publisher’s website: “When Tommy’s parents abandon him as a baby, his grandmother Gaga takes him to her reclusive house at the top of Pike’s Peak. Gaga’s parenting methods are extreme, but Tommy soon learns her eccentricities are nothing compared to the rest of his family. As he’s passed between his outlandish aunts, Tommy’s journey takes him to the country homestead of Aunt Tess (who hides surprising objects in her voluminous hair), the four city houses of Aunt Penny (who prefers to communicate by ESP), and the cave-like desert home of Aunt Chelsea the coyote hunter. As his cross-country romp reveals how bizarrely different families can be, Tommy begins to wonder if the conventional home he’s dreamed of might not be for him after all.

The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice captures the unmoored feelings of young adulthood and the complexities of American identity. It’s a dazzling novel about the ineffability of childhood and the nature of family and relationships in the increasingly rootless American experience.

The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice: What I thought

The cover may make you think this is a children’s book, but it isn’t: it’s an adult book about a child. It certainly was a tall tale! At first, nothing seemed amiss but when Tommy’s aunt grabs large objects from out of her unruly hair, it becomes clear that the story has some rather tall tale elements. It’s all funny as well as heart-breaking: orphan Tommy isn’t accepted with any of his family members and is moved from one to the other.

Tommy takes it all in his stride and tries to adapt to living with each of his aunts as best as possible. This must be one of the most deranged families ever! I loved how Tommy accepted every new situation and made the best of it. And how sad when he was made to move on to the next aunt!

The story is funny and never boring. It’s told in the matter-of-fact way a child looks at the world. While the story is quirky, the ending is very original. Actually, which ending? The author offers five possible (and very different ways) to end the story. All discuss what happened after he left his final aunt and how he is doing now, at forty or fifty years’ of age. The reader chooses!

I loved reading this funny short book. It’s a story that isn’t easily forgotten.

About Judith
I'm owner and editor at and We edit books and articles for independent writers.

8 Responses to Book Review: The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice by Nathan Leslie

  1. Jennifer says:

    This sounds like a fun one! I enjoy quirky little reads 🙂

  2. Charlie says:

    Sounds like it could be sad, but very good regardless. I love how the reader gets to choose the ending!

  3. You made me curious, Judith! I’ll have to read this. Thanks for this review.

  4. Marie says:

    This sounds fun, although I’m not sure about having to choose from five possible endings. Love the sound of that cast of eccentric characters!

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