So I realize that the buzz is over and I’m the last person in the world to read this book. But it was a great book and worth posting about so that I don’t forget the books I love.

I read most of this while we were travelling around Poland and finished it on our last plane home. It was the perfect travel read… and it’s not only because the main character was Polish and spoke to the elephant in Polish. 😉

It is set during the Depression Era. According to the author’s note at the end of the book, many of the compelling anecdotes in the story were based upon real events, taken from the diaries and personal histories of old-time circus performers!

The main character is a funny, still-sharp 93-year-old man, who is frustrated with being trapped in an old man’s body at a nursing home. The story of his incredible life and adventures with the circus unfolds in a way that is emotionally wrenching, and yet flashes of good humor pervade throughout. The characters are richly drawn, and even the animals are given complex personalities that make them a pivotal part of the story. There is something in the novel for everyone: it is equal parts adventure, mystery, fictional memoir, love story, and historical account.

It was so well written, and although there were parts that were somewhat predictable, there were also many moments that surprised me, especially the end.  Overall, the novel left me feeling warm and fuzzy. 🙂 Highly recommend.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★★ ★ (loved)

Now it’s time for me to be the last person that still hasn’t seen the movie…

Have you read this book? Have you seen the movie? How does it compare?