Monday, October 02, 2023
Off to Join the Circus, A Book Review
Off to Join the Circus, a novel by Debora Kalb is a wonderfully enjoyable book about a Jewish family from New Jersey.
The book is broken up into many short chapters, each one voicing the viewpoint of one character, though not written in first person. Considering that I frequently get lost early on trying to remember the various characters when reading a book, I found this format very helpful.
The book begins with the unexpected reappearance of Adele Pinsky who had run away as a teenager sixty-four 64 years earlier. No one is more shocked and excited by her return than her younger brother Howard, who is celebrating his seventy-fifth 74th birthday when she suddenly calls him up and announces that she's coming for a visit.
Adele keeps many of her secrets to the end, and she's the only main character who doesn't have a chapter, nary a one.
Family dynamics among the Pinsky family undergoes understandable changes as they get to know Adele. She also gets to know them and tries to find her place after a two generation absence. Howard even has grandchildren older than he had been when his big sister Adele had suddenly left.
Either the elder Pinskys weren't sure of the where/why Adele had left or they hid the truth from young Howard by saying that she was off to "join the circus," apparently their euphemism for risky adventure.
It didn't take many pages before I was totally caught up with the members of the Pinsky family, their various trials, tribulations and wonderful closeness. They're definitely a family that cares about each other making the sixty-four year absence especially painful.
I could barely put the book down and then was so terribly disappointed when I realized that I had read the very last page... I wanted to read more about the Pinskys.
Deborah Kalb wrote a fantastic book. Yes, Off to Join the Circus is highly recommended.