Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet Me At The Side Show

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A NovelThe Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel by Ellen Bryson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

These are my "reading notes"

They will not make any sense...but, what the hell..

Here Goes

>Nights at the Circus is referenced here...Take note!

>"Freaks" from the inside..."inside" as in Prison..or in Safety

>Before P T Barnum became the Circus impresario we all know and love... he was the owner/operator of the AMERICAN MUSEUM....home to freaks and geeks of several persuassions....through tableaux and individual performance

>BARTHOLOMNEW FORTUNO...THE THINNEST MAN IN THE WORLD....our protagonist...thinks his physical abnormality is a "gift"

> Heirarchy within the museum residents..is "over the top"...adolescent to a fault...gossip...insecurity

>Enter IELL...THE BEARDED LADY....a sensuous, gifted, 'other"....Love arrives....Barhtolomew is unprepared...he wants to woo her...save her..."Love is a rose..the thorns ate toxic"....watch out! The lady has more secrets than her beard!!

>This is a story from the "other" side...where the Freaks look at us..Shit, I lost this post...and We are Them....vice versa...and their vision is very clear.

>Bartholomew's Transformation?? becoming "normal"...and remembering why he became an Oddity..in the first place...His world crashes...but he survives..the beauty of this story..Love nearly killed him...then he started to EAT...

I loved this story...told from the "inside" of the Side Show world....Ms Bryson mentions Nights at the Circus...and i heartily recommend

This "review" makes no sense at all..I make no apologies...go somewhere else for intelligence

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Sumner IslandSumner Island by Michael Cormier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ghost-Hunting at the Smythe, a luxury hotel/resort located on Sumner Island, off the coast of Maine. The very same Smythe where Maria Boudreau, "America's Princess" in the last century's Golden Age, met an untimely and violent end in 1924....eighty years before this story takes place. Mitchell Lambert, history professor at Fowler College, made his literary mark with a popular biography of Miss Boudreau. Mr Lambert is a tad obsessed with our Maria...some would call it LOVE. The ghost hunt is the result of several sightings of Boudreaus's ghost..by people not in love with her. Psychics, bystanders,and a cranky, psychotic spirit plus a Wise Old Man with a personal stake in the story's outcome...all make for a fine cast of characters.

Paranormal Romance is not my genre of choice but I did enjoy this book. Mr Cormier is a crackerjack story teller, and a decent stylist. the prose had "flow" and only hit a few bumps toward the end, when all the paranormal "Bells & Whistles" flew thick and fast...a bit much, in my opinion. All the "massed spirits of the long dead", the phenomenal thunder storm with attendant lightning strikes/fires..and the sudden lack of oxygen...left me a little breathless..and impatient for the story's end. The malevolent spirit was so, indeed..then came across as a petulant frat boy with a murderous streak.. Mitch Lambert was a bit "soft" as a character..too moony by half, but maybe Academics are like that now. In my day, they just drank too much and tried to charm the pants off college girls..Oh well. Small complaints, when all is said and done. the ending was..well...paranormal. Love does endure through the ages...

I liked the book,in spite of the "flaws" which are not such...just my quibbles. This is a good summer read if you like your novels not-too-heavy..but not floating off into the air. The period detail was good..be it present day or late-Victorian past. This is not Paranormal of the Heaving Bosom variety, rather it's more cerebral....unto the slightly obsessive. The Passion here is of the hopeful sort. Good food-for-thought that won't give you a headache, or set you to yawning.

This is a review of an ARC.

3 Stars