91 member(s) found this review helpful.
Believe the hype you have heard about this book. Gruen's characters leap off the page and into your mind they are so well concieved. Almost every element you could want in a book is here - humor, a bit of a mystery, drama, angst, terror, compassion. It is about relationships; human to human; human and animal. It's about falling in love in an instant. It's about history. It's about life with a traveling circus and all the various personalities that make up a community.
The only word of caution I have is that there are elements of animal cruelty portrayed if that makes you squeemish.
53 member(s) found this review helpful.
A wonderful story of a young man's life turned upside down. A split-second decision lands him a job with a traveling cirus. The author does an amazingly thorough job, describing the intricacies of circus life in a realistic and gritty manor. The man's circus life story is told in flashbacks, with the majority taking place during the era of Prohibition, and is done with a great deal of love and affection.
With the story set in the circus world, I expected a huge menagerie of characters that would be difficult to keep track of. On the contrary, while there are several well fleshed-out characters, it's not overwhelming. The main character has quite a compelling story to tell, and he's easily likeable.
Highly recommended. A thoroughly enjoyable tale.
52 member(s) found this review helpful.
I almost didn't read this book because of the wait list (over 900 people!) and because my TBR pile is now a TBR mountain. I'm glad I did read it. Knocked it out in two nights. Memorable read.
Life was hard in the 1930's, there was no work, the stock market crashed. The romance and excitement of the traveling circus was the television of that time. Of course, the circus life itself was hard, gritty, and terrible. And always, underneath it all, one finds compassion.
This is a love story, between a man and a woman, between a man and himself.