Circuses never held the fascination for me that they do for so many people. I’m not sure why–maybe because I was always “the weird one” or maybe because I’m more observant than most–I was always able to see beyond the sparkle and flash. Sure, I loved seeing the exotic animals, but they were in such tiny cages. And the elephants absolutely filled the tents.
Because of this, I now love reading about the “backstage” of circuses, and seeing what really happens–even if fictionalized. The Night Circus is one of those really wonderful stores, and Paddy O’Reilly’s The Wonders is a similar, though modernized version.
Fans of Erin Morgenstern are going to love this book. O’Reilly spins a tale of 3 “Wonders”–modern day sideshow freaks, who in today’s society become celebrities. One is a medical phenomenon, one a medical miracle, and the third is a supreme body modification artist.
At first, I thought the story a little far-fetched. I’d never go pay that much money to go see The Wonders myself. But, then..I’m also not the average rube. In our reality-TV addicted society–this story is probably exactly what would happen.
I will say that the treatment of disabled advocacy groups in this book left a bad taste in my mouth. I understand the point that was being made–but I do think the author wobbles on a very fine tightrope where this subject is concerned.
Overall, this was a very good vacation read. It was entertaining, and something I could pick up and put down easily, without forgetting what was going on. The book was just released this week, so be sure to look for it if you are a fan of circuses, or something just a little bit different.
Disclaimer: This ARC was provided to me via NetGalley.