I immediately fell in love with the 90 (or 93) year-old narrator and protagonist of this story. His memories of his time with the circus and his love for one of the performers were detailed and fascinating. The research of Sara Gruen was apparent. I was engrossed in the history and the characters. Some of it was very dark but that was offset by the antics of the animals and the strong backbone of the characters. The author pulled no punches, but instead opened a window on a world that most of us have never even imagined.