I recently picked up at the Friends of the Delmar Public Library book sale a book called "The Final Confession of Mabel Stark" by Robert Hough, Copyright 2001 published by Grove Press. When selecting books from a book sale, after you have gone thru the authors you have heard of it is just a wild chance of a good selection. I am afraid I go by the graphic work on the book cover for selections of authors I know nothing about and being from the Eastern Shore I tend to gaudy instead of sophisticated and refined book covers, thus I selected this book.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabel_Stark In the short version her name was Mary Haynie born in 1889, she was an orphan, became a nurse, was put in an insane asylum, married a number of times, joined the circus, was in those side shows known as cooch shows, became a big cat tamer, was bitten clawed and mauled numerous times and finally committed suicide in California in 1968.
http://www.hobonickels.org/circus.htm to reference while reading for those terms such as; Backdoor, blowdown, High School Horse, Pie Car, Cherry Pie, etc etc etc.
Of current interest after reading of all the mauling and stratching etc in the book, I read yesterday about a worker at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Indiana, who was attacked by a tiger who during the attack put the woman's head in its mouth leaving her in critical condition. Never trust a wild animal.