Amanda Davis - William Monroe - 2003
I just finished this first novel by a very skillful storyteller.
It's first on the list for my book group which resumes on Wednesday.
"Amanda Davis has a wicked and inspired imagination,
her first novel . . . is just plan fabulous.
This is a story full of extraordinary events told with extraordinary skill."
Brady Udall, Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
The book is a coming-of-age story about 15 year old Faith Dunkle who runs away to join the circus after a gang rape on Homecoming Day at her high school. But even before the rape, Faith is an outsider; lonely and misunderstood and over-weight.
After the rape, she confides in no one which leads to an unsuccessful suicide attempt and a psychiatric hospital. From here and throughout, we witness Faith's odyssey on which she is joined by Fat Girl, the ghost of her formerly fat self.
Faith's journey takes her to the Fartlesworth Circus with whom she travels doing the most menial of tasks in exchange for bed and board. In the circus, Faith re-claims self-confidence and finds redemption in an environment built on second chances.
After a year Faith is given the opportunity to learn the aerialists routine and she says with confidence that she "will fly and twist" and that if she falls someone will "catch her".
By then the voice of Fat Girl has diminished; Faith is beginning to find some peace.
And the reader feels that Faith is on her way to the future.