I've listened to around 20 books and this has got to be the best. I'd read the back cover and wasn't keen on reading about someone running away to join a circus, but a friend recommended it and I was hooked. It cleverly switches between the main character at aged 23 and 93. I found the 23 year old story informative and powerful, and the 93 year old poignant and sensitive - I was close to tears after one of the elderly man's disappointments. Fantastic!
Beautiful story, and beautifully narrated. Easy listen, but full of creative ideas, thoughtful perspectives, and very touching. I've recommended it to a few friends, who all loved it, so it is a good sign, which gave me confidence to write my first ever review! Fantastic listen for super busy and bored alike, as you'll have something to look forward to!
I was inspired to read this book after seeing the movie. As ever - the book outstripped the movie by miles. I loved the format, swapping back and forth between an old man's sad current existence and a first person account of his past life. Having two different readers absolutely worked. I found it moving and totally gripping. Very well written by a master story teller.
I loved this - I laughed and I cried and didn't want it to end. When it did I started it from the beginning and listened all over again. I think it was even better second time around. Recommend with a capital R.
Unusual subject matter and although there is no great emotional depth to this story it was absolutely fascinating to learn the background detailed history of the touring American Circus Trains during the depression. I really enjoyed it so much I want to see the film now for illustrative purposes!
"A beautifully crafted tale."
Quite simply my favorite Audible listen so far. A well crafted story with evocative description of a bygone era providing a rich backdrop for an engaging tale played out by a satisfyingly varied array of characters. This all given added interest through the story being relayed via the reminiscences of the protagonist in the final years of his life but still with some fire in his belly! An unexpected, and therefore all-the-more rewarding insight into, and perspective on how one deals with the process of aging. For me, this beautifully told story ticks all the right boxes and thus is highly recommended.
"Leaves you with a warm glow"
Definitely the best audio book so far for me. A good oldfashioned brilliantly-crafted novel, read in perfect character by the two narrators. Will make you laugh and cry unless you are very hard-boiled. OK yes young Jacob is maybe a bit too perfect and secondary characters are disposed of rather summarily once their part is over but I defy anyone with an ounce of romance in their soul not to be totally absorbed by this fascinating tale of life, love and death in a 30s American travelling train circus. Equally suitable for a 15 year old or a 90 year old and everyone inbetween as long as they are not shocked by a little swearing and two scenes of a sexual nature.
"A wonderful book"
I cannot think of anything I didn't like about this audio book. Plot, narration, characters, elephant - all wonderful. Both parts, the contemporary one and the main story set in the 30s, are fascinating in their own right. Together they tell a great story that kept me gripped.
I read the reviews, which were full of praise. But this book is lacking in story and the American accents are very hard to understand at times. I didn't enjoy it and gave up half way through.
"Too difficult to understand - I gave up"
I would not buy another book narrated by this narrator. The old man gruff voice was meant to be characterful, but it turned out to be almost impossible to understand. When selecting a narrator, it's important to choose someone who can both provide characterful voice but clear diction. This narrator was nearly impossible to understand. Gruff, deep, slurring his words. I couldn't enjoy the book.