by Sarah Gruen
This was an amazing story.
I love realistic stories about the circus or carnivals and I learned from the author's note at the end that this was very well researched in a historian sense. It rang mostly true and some of the incidents were taken from events that really happened somewhere in circus history.
My only niggle is that it was written in present tense. I'm not going to dock it a star for that as I usually do because it was done well and sometimes I could forget to notice, but it still would have been better in past tense.
The depiction of the rough edges of depression era train circus life was very immersive and I actually read most of the book into the night because I didn't want to stop. That's a sign of a well written story!
Without giving anything away, I particularly liked the way it finished. I mean the story itself, before getting to the notes. The decision made by Jacob, the main protagonist, left me with a smile on my face. Characters were strong throughout the story, human or otherwise.
There were definitely some animal antics that made me laugh, especially the elephant. There were other emotions too, some not so pleasant, especially with the knowledge that animals weren't cared for as they should have been in those days, but it's far in the past now and I could enjoy the story as a nostalgic record of a time that happened long before I was born.