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LoraM

Lora's Rants and Reviews

My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing. I DO NOT accept review requests but only review books I choose to read and I don't post reviews on Amazon. I'm also persnickity about genre and plot.

Currently reading

The Victorian Christmas
Anna Selby
Progress: 6%
Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward
Carl Abrahamsson, Gary Valentine Lachman
Progress: 15/256pages
Fairies:: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk
Morgan Daimler
Progress: 76%
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols
Laura Tempest Zakroff
Progress: 5%
Old Celtic Romances
P.W. Joyce
Progress: 3%
Uprooted
Naomi Novik
Progress: 13%
Don Quixote
Roberto González Echevarría, John Rutherford, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Progress: 48%

Orphans of the Carnival

Orphans of the Carnival: A Novel - Carol Birch
by Carol Birch
 
This turned out to be a fascinating story, though it started out a little poetic and vague. It took a chapter or two to really get into what was going on, but once the background of the main character, Julia, started coming out, I definitely wanted to keep reading.
 
Julia was born 'different'. She has hair all over her face and body like fur, and the face itself appears ape-like. After her mother abandons her as a small child, she is taken care of in comfortable circumstances until the old woman who looks after her dies, then Julia sets out on her own and eventually joins a carnival freak show.
 
The variety of characters in the freak show provides some interesting personality quirks that come of growing up 'different'. Julia sometime bristles at the casual way in which the other 'freaks' refer to her anomaly, though her sensitivity goes largely unnoticed.
 
Julia is like many young women and wants the same things, like nice dresses, but she is aware of the effects of her appearance and is told she will never 'get a man'. She's also very talented and can sing and dance, which takes her beyond just being a freak into being a valued performer.
 

It wasn't until the end of the story that I learned that Julia was a real person, though the events of her life are fictionalized in the story. Wikipedia has an interesting entry about her. The story is well told and gives the reader some insight into what it must be like to grow up and live as someone who is visibly different and the treatment she gets as a result. Very poignant.