I have always wondered about circus. How life has been for the performers, for the workers and for the animals. Though our circus doesn’t travel by train and I haven’t also, I enjoyed how the book portrayed it. But be informed, this is not about circus. It is about a love story.
The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show On Earth is at the brink of indefinite loss until Jacob appeared. He is an undergrad veterinarian at Cornell who was lost, both literally and figuratively, on his predicament. Jacob tames Rose, an Elephant, letting her perform tricks and obey commands. But on Jacob’s stay he falls in love with Marlena, the head animal trainer’s wife. Jacob is about to cross authority beyond his feelings.
The book was beautifully written. You can feel a moment’s anger or a moment’s joy in just a matter of a sentence. The story moves coherently as it travels towards the charming young Jacob and back to the cranky old Jacob.
It also does a good job on describing. The details are vivid and particular. You won’t feel that you might have missed something. You are filled with a thoughtful content for every chapter. Being a historical fiction, it also captured the language and environment of the time frame, accurately.
However, the odds of getting bored are a bit high. The story is slow-paced. So if you can’t endure just bite of information, I doubt you’ll find this book entertaining. Also, I can’t appreciate the leading lady. She didn’t develop well throughout the book; her character was flat. She was less likeable than Jacob had described.
There were some points not followed. Before Jacob joined the circus, he made an oath to himself that he will take care of the animals. But I only saw little effort on his promise. He didn’t even stand for the tortured animals.
I was not really pulled to Jacob and Marlena’s relationship since whenever they have a dialogue it was always short and somehow meaningless. I read the book for about one week since I got bored every now and then.
I have nothing against plot or even the flow of the story. It was just the characters aren’t as stimulating as I expected they would be.
PS: I read this book while listening to its audiobook. It was funny when its Marlena’s turn. It was always voiced by man faking his voice.