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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Freaks: Alive on the Inside by Annette Curtis Klause

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (January 10, 2006)
ISBN-10: 068987037X

From Booklist/ Amazon*Starred Review* Gr. 10-12. Seventeen-year-old Abel has spent most of his life at Faeryland, a resort offering "displays of oddities," featuring performers with unusual physical characteristics. Both of his parents are missing limbs, and his first girlfriend is Phoebe the Dog-Faced Girl, whose cheek fur is ever-present when they kiss. Abel feels "useless" and "handicapped" by his normality. Longing to find a sense of purpose (and eager to escape Phoebe's affection), he runs away. He soon discovers that Phoebe's fur-faced younger brother has followed him, and together the boys journey through the seedy, terrifying world of traveling sideshows, led in part by the mysterious dark-haired girl who appears to Abel urgently in dreams and begs to be rescued. Klause's wild historical fantasy enfolds numerous stories and characters, and readers may get bogged down in the wandering subplots that knit the story together. The characters often speak coarsely, occasionally dipping into broad sexual innuendos, and Abel's romantic interludes read with the steaminess of a bodice-ripper. But teens will be easily drawn in by the cliff-hanger chapter endings; the vibrant, affectionately drawn cast of characters (including a seductive mummy); and the exuberant, often bawdy language, in which even emotions are visceral creatures: "A worm of anger squiggled in my gut," Abel says. Klause's suspenseful twist on the outsider's story, the grim horror of human exploitation, and the questions about belonging will fascinate readers. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Amazon gives a good review of this book, and I doubt I could do better.

It was a book that I wasn't sure if I'd like or not, but took a chance, and I'm glad I did. It's a coming of age book, but it also takes a long hard look at the people who make up what is called "the Freak Show" at Carnivals and Circus's. This book gives a good look into the inside feelings of people who manage to survive despite their odds of doing so. And what you discover is that they aren't as different as they may look.

The protagonist, 17 yrs old, Abel, was feeling sorry for himself living with carnival freaks (his parents among them) when he was "normal", so he sets off to find himself ...and his destiny.

Followed by the dog faced boy they find adventure, love, fear, and many new friends, who seem to be attracted to Abel as if he were a magnet. Try as he may he cannot leave the dog faced boy or his new friends behind when he see's they are not being treated with the respect they are due. He stays, and decides to do something about it.

Good lessons are learned in this book... not the least of which is that no matter what someone looks like, beneath it we are all the same, wanting the same things, and hoping for the same happiness's. In the end, the old belief that you can never go home again, is found untrue.

Annette Curtis Klause, Author's Notes: I may have started reading about unusual people out of curiosity, but what I brought away was respect- respect for people who fought the odds and created lives for themselves. They made the best of what they had, earned a living, love, married, had children, and left a legacy when the could- just like anyone. We are all different- and how boring life would be if we were all the same- but some of those differences may be more obvious than others, and present greater challenges. Yet one thing unites us- we are all human.


Blogger Ladytink_534 said...

Well it certainly sounds unique. Not many people write books that make the "freaks" seem human.

There is a carnival in a coming of age story I read called Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon and although one of the boy's really wanted to go to the freak exhibit, they kind of got sidetracked by the real dinosaur. Isn't it odd how books can kind of connect? (If this makes no sense, please forgive me, I just woke up lol)

8:58 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

ladytink: lol hey sounds like they connect to me! lol

8:22 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I've had this one in my TBR pile since last year when Carl reviewed it...I went out and bought it right away and now it's just sitting on my shelf all lonely :( I should really pick it up and read it! Your review reminded me why I want to read it so much! Ever see the old movie Freaks? This just reminded me of that...

1:09 AM  
Blogger Cath said...

I love the way you manage to find such *different* reads... and I love reading about them. This one is completely new to me and sounds excellent. Will check the library catalogue for it.

2:50 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Chris: the author mentions that the Movie gave her the idea for this book!

Cath: if we do the "blame game" it was Carl who first reviewed this book.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Nymeth said...

I'd also added this one to my wishlist when Carl reviewed it, but I had forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me of it! It sounds like something I'd really enjoy.

6:18 PM  

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