Bernado’s Circus

by Jachike Samuelson for online reviews After Bernado’s gypsy family is murdered by Nazi soldiers, Zelda, the gypsy who took him in, is also killed. Bernado moves on to live on his own in an old abandoned house but gets caught one day stealing a blanket. After hearing his story, the policeman who catches him is sympathetic and sends him to an orphanage where he believes Bernado will be well looked after. However, the reverse is the case when Bernado sees the awful living conditions there. He also experiences sexual abuse at the hands of Father Mark, but on one such encounter, he stabs the priest with a nail just below his eye and escapes from the orphanage. After some time on the streets earning at building sites, Bernado gets invited to join a circus. Here he performs with the talented dogs he started training after his escape from the orphanage. From working at the circus to purchasing a rundown casino in Italy with his savings, Bernado has a lot in store for him, and yet, this is only the beginning. Bernado’s Circus by James A Calderwood was a fascinating read. It had the right amount of elements typical of a fictional story—adventure, thrill, drama, friendship, sex—enough to keep different types of readers engaged. With a progressive plot, I got to experience the main character, Bernardo, and his life from his pre-teen years to his grand lifestyle as the father of six. I loved the unpredictability in the storyline. Often, novels tend to follow a template of sorts, which dampens the overall reading experience—not in this case. The plot’s unpredictable nature made it hard to tell which way the story was going initially—this left room for speculation on the reader’s part and creativity from the author. My favorite aspect of this novel was how it portrayed the themes of family and friendship throughout the story. These themes could be seen at play among Bernado’s family members. I could also see them in the relationships between Bernardo and Zelda; Bernardo and Stephan; Rina, Marta, Donna Gabriella, and the entire family. In the strong bond of kinship and friendship, they all supported and helped each other in love and compassion. I was expecting a little jealousy and spite, though, from Rina and Marta, seeing as they were both Bernado’s lovers and had borne children for him. It was interesting, therefore, that the two women bonded even better than sisters would. Owing to its subpar editing . The storyline is too good to deserve a lesser rating. I would recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and memoir-like stories.   Ps  Book has since been edited using Grammarly ****** Bernado’s Circus View: on Bookshelves

Published by jamescalderwood2013jimcaldy

learned most of my skills in the school of hard knocks

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