This has to be one of the best novels I have read this year. After a slow start, I fell in love with all of the characters which are based on the freaks and geeks of the circus and somewhat on fact. Bartholomew, who is billed as the thinnest man on earth has his world come apart when he meets the bearded lady. This turns out to be a love triangle in some sense. The story is really one of acceptance of yourself and others. This is one moments that just shocked me, but it made the story really make sense and come alive. I also should have seen it coming.Bryson does a super job of interweaving the fact with her fiction. She places handwritten notes, playbills and other documents within the pages. I really enjoy off-kilter stories and this one just really hit me right. I look forward to another one by this author. You will probably enjoy this if you liked Geek Love by Katherine Dunn or Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.