Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Book Review; The Final Confession of Mabel Stark

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.

Red and Yellow predominate colors, tigers and a woman.  Never heard of Mabel Stark in my life and have a low interest in Circus related items.   It turned out to be a really great book, well written, fits what I call the historical novel type of book in which a fictional book is written that hangs loosely on historical facts and dates.   It turns out there really was a Mabel Stark and she lead a life just as real as the 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.
The only thing I would recommend is glossary of circus terms, as you know they have their own language, I would suggest Hobo Nickel's Circus Lingo 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.

1 comment:

Dick Dykes said...

HOWARD!
I THOUGHT EVERYONE (OUR AGE OF COURSE) HAD HEARD OF MABEL STARK!
AND YES THERE REALLY WAS A FRANK (BRING 'EM NBACK ALIVE) BUCK.
DICK