Review from a Transgressive Fiction Fan
There may be stranger books out there about the circus (though of this I can’t be sure), but I am certain that there are no stranger books out there about families, because there simply can’t be a family stranger than the Binewskis. Carnies, freaks, experiments, mad scientists, brothers, sisters, lovers, foes, gifted, damaged, obsessed…they are the ultimate bizarre and this book was impossible to put down precisely due to its mesmerizing strangeness. I’m a huge fan of any circus related stories and was interested in this book for a long time, it was so nice to see that it met and exceeded any expectation I might have had for it and is well worth all the praise and every award it was nominated for. In fact I’m pretty sure it might be a masterpiece, although this things tends to be determined by age as often as by quality. This book is awesome in the deepest most authentic meaning of the word. Highly recommended.
“Insightful” Review from a Mainstream Reader
Biggest disappointment of the year so far. I really expected to love this but after a promising start it rapidly declined. The characters were perverse, twisted individuals with no likeable traits and the plot went from slightly shocking to disgusting and over the top. It was just laughable in parts and I skimmed the last 100 pages so I could discuss this with others but I would have happily dropped it. For a 300 page book this dragged and bounced between boring nothingness to ridiculous events. I would label this shock fiction which became farcical and completely disappointing.