Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train -- and inadvertently runs away with the circus. Thrown into the chaos of a second-rate travelling show, Jacob is adrift in a world of freaks, swindlers, and misfits.
Jacob uses his veterinary skills in the circus menagerie and becomes a savior for the animals he so loves, including a baffling elephant named Rosie. He also comes to know Marlena, the enchanting star of the equestrian act -- and the wife of August, a charismatic but cruel animal trainer. Caught between his love for Marlena and his need for belonging, Jacob is freed only by a murderous secret that will bring the big top down.
This book was highly recommended by some friends from an online-photography forum I frequent. As you can see by the title page, this book was popular enough to be made into a well-reviewed movie this year, starring A-list actors. I was definitely intrigued.
Unfortunately, I emphatically cannot recommend this book, regardless of how well-written or fascinating it may be. In fact, I made it no further than 1/3 of the way through the book before putting it away for good...and I should have put it away sooner. The language is appalling. Unabashed swearing and cursing, and explicit descriptions of a strip show, masturbation, and so on.
This is one book that should definitely not grace our shelves.