The story explores the circus life during The Great Depression. It follows a young veterinary school drop-out on his journey toward the unknown. What he finds when he hops a train in the middle of night will change his life forever. He meets a host of characters, some beautiful in their unique ways and others just as ugly. He’ll battle evil, preserve what he can, and try to capture the wild and unpredictable (and unavailable) love of his life.
This book is a ton of fun, and is definitely one of my favorites that I’ve read this year. Gruen did some fantastic research of circuses during America’s Great Depression. I loved some of the characters intensely and hated others just as sincerely. The animals, above all else, speak out in very human ways throughout the book. The story is set in flash-back mode, and the elderly narrator (who you only visit every few chapters… other times, he is telling the story as it’s happening in his memory) is amusing and honest; I loved his voice throughout the story. Like most movies based on books I’ve read, I’m afraid to see this one; afraid that it will ruin how my imagination has perceived the story.
The only place in the book where I hesitated with my adoration was the ending (the very end, the last chapter.) It just seemed too convenient of a wrap-up, although it definitely made me happy.
This is not a genre-specific book; I recommend this one to every person who likes to read.
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