I have finally read this popular book which has been on my reading list for years. As with so many others, I give it five stars for its compellingly evocative writing of both circus life and life in an assisted living facility. The menagerie of vivid characters were clearly drawn, the pace and the segues were good, the historical setting was believable, and the characters were definitely memorable.
Alternating chapters between Jacob (the circus vet) at 93 and 23 years old, adds much dimension to the telling of this tale. However, even though it ends on an up-note with an unexpected twist, the book still left me melancholy. So while I give it the high rating it deserves, I wouldn’t recommend it, let alone call it “sheer fun,” as the book jacket below says. I was disturbed enough by the convincing portrayals of the menacing and two-faced antagonists not to like the book much as a whole.
(Also note: as a movie, this book would be considered R rated.)