It has been several months since I listened to this book and it is still in my head. I rooted for the young Jacob traveling with the circus as much as I ached for the old Jacob who was relegated to uselessness in a nursing home. I thought the ending was perfect and if I'm ever in a nursing home, I hope the circus comes to town.
This book is a very realistic look at self-centered bigotry and it's consequences. I kept hoping for some sort of compromise that would lead to a happy or at least satisfying ending for each of the characters and all I got was a dose of reality. While I was able to alternately sympathize with and despise all of the main characters, I felt the author's sympathies were slightly tilted toward one side. The situation was painted as impossible, but the only thing that made it impossible was the character's unwillingness to see anyone else's point of view. The narration was acceptable but didn't stand out as adding a great deal to the book.
I liked the background and plot of the book, but the music at the end and beginning of some chapters was distracting. Even more distracting was the narration. Often, narrators can add a lot to the story by their interpretation of the tone of conversation & thought. However, this reader reduced the characters to caricatures and there were some obvious mis-pronunciations of common words. The story is still worth it as an escape, but just be prepared for a bit of frustration if you care about details.
I fell in love with Carrie & Emma very early in the book. The ending was shocking, but I'm glad I hadn't read the other reviews or I would have been trying to figure out the "twist". There was a stark realism to what they endured that made be believe I was getting a real glimpse into the lives of abused children. I was rooting for them and found the ending a mix of satisfying & disturbing.
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