A daughters astonishing memoir of pushing past fear, through life in a traveling sideshow and her mothers illnessTurns out, one lesson applies to living through illness, keeping the show on the road, letting go of the person you love most, and eating fire:The trick is there is no trick. You eat fire by eating fire. Two journeysa daughters and a mothersbear witness to this lesson in The Electric Woman.For three years Tessa Fontaine lived in a constant state of emergency as her mother battled stroke after stroke. But hospitals, wheelchairs, and loss of language couldnt hold back such a woman; she and her husband would see Italy together, come what may. Thus Fontaine became free to follow her own piper, a literal giant inviting her to come play in the World of Wonders, Americas last traveling sideshow. How could she resist?Transformed into an escape artist, a snake charmer, and a high-voltage Electra, Fontaine witnessed the marvels of carnival life: intense camaraderie and heartbreak, the guilty thrill of hard-earned cash exchanged for a peek into the impossible, and, most marvelous of all, the stories carnival folks tell about themselves. Through these, Fontaine trained her body to ignore fear and learned how to keep her heart open in the face of loss. A story for anyone who has ever imagined running away with the circus, wanted to be someone else, or wanted a loved one to live forever, The Electric Woman is ultimately about death-defying acts of all kinds, especially that ever constant: good old-fashioned unconditional love....
|Title||:||The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts|
|Number of Pages||:||384 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Download » The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts|
The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts Reviews
The Electric Woman by Tessa Fontaine is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-April.
This is the autobiography of Fontaine, a female sideshow performer who, for a total of 150 days, learns skills (such as fire-breathing, snakecharming, escaping from handcuffs, sleight of hand magic tricks, sword swallowing), faces fears, and invites risk after her mother experiences symptoms of a stroke related to brain hemorrhage. She performs at state and county fairs as a ballyhoo girl alongside the barke ...more
I received an advance reader copy from publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley.
Tessa Fontaine was 30 when she was invited for a 5-month stint with America's last traveling sideshow, the World of Wonders. She started as a bally girl (someone that lures people to buy tickets for the show), then progressed to snake handling, handcuff escape, and fire eating. But her education in the sideshow arts did not end there. She performed the illusion of a 4-legged lady and what she considered her ...more
Many years ago, my aunt married a carnival mechanic.
The marriage didn’t last long but while they were together I was given the opportunity to work at the carnival. As a 13-year-old getting unsupervised time in a carnival felt like an amazing gift even if it meant working in one of those lame Feed the Ducks booths. Each night once the place has officially closed, temp staff like myself could ride the scariest ride for as long as they wanted. I loved every second.
So, when I saw this memoi ...more
What a wonderful book! Ms Fontaine joins the last traveling U.S. sideshow. She explores the closed society of the "carney" and is faced with the contrast between the performer’s confrontation of stage danger and the display of real life bravery by her Mother. This is a sensitive treatment of extremes, dreams and regrets.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book. After her mother suffers from a debilitating stroke, Tessa decides joins a traveling sideshow. The story nicely parallels her mother's story of progress with Tessa's time in the World of Wonders. I could almost smell the stench of sweat and feel the author's tired muscles as she worked tirelessly for the show. This book was a mesmerizing look into the world of freak shows and carnival life as well as a lovely story of what some of u ...more
I'm such a sucker for a great memoir and can't rave enough about, The Electric Woman . Tessa Fontaine shares two death-defying stories...her own and the incredible story of her mother who defied all predictions of death for many years after suffering a series of strokes.
Many of us dream of escaping it all, but Tessa actually does this and applies for a job working with the World of Wonders, America's last traveling side show. Bravely, she tries all sorts of incredible acts within this company l ...more
Usually I find memoirs by white women exhausting. Their fish-out-of-water stories strike me as exploitative, both of the reader and the people they encounter on their journeys to (insert eyeroll here) self-discovery.
Tessa wasn't born into the sideshow world, and while she only lives in it for 5 months, she writes about it with honesty, humor, and heart. She wants you to believe all of it too—the sweat, tears, and snot that go into making the magic. And the way she intertwines scenes from the fa ...more
I have to admit that when I won this book in a giveaway, I was not sure if I would like it. I put off reading it, but then I opened it and I was hooked.
Tessa Fontaine runs away from her problems and joins the circus; well, not quite. Tessa becomes intrigued by the sideshows that perform as part of state and area fairs. After interviewing performers and owner's, she is invited by the owner of "World of Wonders" to join up for a season and live the life. Frankly, it is a challenge beyond what most ...more