Well, I actually finished this book, and I'm somewhat annoyed I spent any money on it (even if it was a few bucks on sale).
Jacob, a polish-American kid, has some personal tragedy go down while he's studying to be a vet at Cornell. He runs away and joins a Depression/Prohibition-era traveling circus. This time in America is so chaotic and crazy, it has to be interesting, right? Or not.
The story flashes back and forth between a 90/93 year old Jacob in a nursing home and Jacob as a kid in the show. Add the romance of Marlena - the equestrian/acrobaticish girl married to a paranoid schizophrenic (?) and you've got your story.
Jacob - cantankerous and not at all sympathetic. Marlena - perfect and flat and pretty. August - harsh and evil and schizoid when the plot calls for it.
The characters are flat, weak, and unsympathetic. The atmosphere is barely even there. I was so bored with this book. The best part of the book was Jacob's "car-mate" Walter and his dog Queenie... or maybe the cantankerous Polish-commanded elephant... maybe. The story could have been interesting, unlucky for me, it wasn't.