Last summer, I didn’t teach a summer school class and decided to dedicate my time to writing that novel “I always knew I had in me.” Of course as I clicked-clacked away on the laptop keyboard, grandiose thoughts of fame and fortune (à la Ralphie’s Red Rider BB gun daydreams from a Christmas Story) would butt in and show me how wonderful this novel was, and agents and editors would fawn over it, and how I would sell the movie and TV rights, and how groundbreaking the series would be, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Yeah, well I haven’t finished it (but I’m close). The question, however, that I most often get is “what’s it about?” Well, I’m glad you asked because this will give me a great opportunity to write a synopsis of this fine piece of frivolous fiction.
One Sentence Version:
Manny is a thirteen-year-old orphan working in a Great Depression era carnival and sideshow, but he discovers that what he finds normal and everyday is quite frightening (in a fun sort of way) and morally wrong to the rest of the world.
One Paragraph Version:
In the 1930’s, carnivals displayed human “oddities.” To many these oddities were fantastically grotesque and to others they were an abomination. But to thirteen-year-old Manny Dobra, it was home. After his carny parents were tragically killed, the carnival workers banded together to care for one of their own. A bearded woman, an alligator man, a family of little people entertainers, and many other “normal” and “oddity” individuals who make up Oliver Neil’s Marvelous Carnival become Manny’s parents, brothers, and sisters. Soon, however, Manny begins to realize that the people he has grown to love aren’t loved by all, and are often met with mockery, disgust and scorn wherever they travel. Now, forces both within and without the carnival threaten to tear apart his adoptive family. Can Manny and his friends keep the carnival together? Or will it all come crashing down around him, leaving him alone once again?
In the 1930’s, carnivals displayed human “oddities.” To many these oddities were fantastically grotesque but to others they were an abomination. To thirteen-year-old Manny Dobra, it was home.
When Manny’s carny parents were killed, the carnival workers of Oliver Neil’s Marvelous Carnival banded together to care for one of their own. A bearded woman, an alligator man, a family of little people entertainers, and many others become Manny’s parents, brothers, and sisters.
Now, Oliver Neil has fallen head over heels for beautiful Constancia. He has invited her and her fourteen-year-old son to join the carnival, but Ron doesn’t seem pleased living with a bunch of freaks and felons. He has no room for friends like Manny and lets it be known.
While turmoil from the new additions bubbling in the carnival, an old foe has resurfaced with a ferocity not seen in years–The Order of the Lions Den: group bent on wiping out dens of iniquity from American soil, and carnivals are on top of their list. Manny must now discover how to face these ever present challenges and find his place in a carnival of misfits.
And there you have it. The working title is Sideshow Summer, but I’m not sure if it is, 1). catchy enough, or 2). captures the essence of the story. I am open to suggestions for a new title as long as they’re the type of suggestions I want. 😉 Hopefully, it will all be done this summer. I still need to go through and give it a good revision or two or three, but soon I can say/yell/scream, “I wrote my first novel!”
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Want to check out some cool sideshow/carnival links? Well then check these out:
Sideshow! Carnival Oddities and Illusions Provide Lessons for Skeptics