The Final Confession of Mabel Stark

by Robert Hough | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 0679310916 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Vapermom of Trenton, Ontario Canada on 2/26/2012
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Journal Entry 1 by Vapermom from Trenton, Ontario Canada on Sunday, February 26, 2012
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Robert Hough's first novel, The Final Confession of Mabel Stark, is a gaudy tall tale of circus life that rollicks and rambles in equal measure. Based on the few facts known about Mabel Stark, history's greatest female tiger trainer, this novel spans some 60 years, from the protagonist's rough beginnings as a nurse in a Louisville, Kentucky, hospital to her fading years as an octogenarian cat trainer in a seedy wildlife theme park. The intervening years see Stark persevering through five husbands, a series of scrapes, tears, and maulings, and stints with several circuses, including the still-famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey outfit.

The Final Confession of Mabel Stark is written as an autobiography, and Hough's development of Stark's voice is convincing and consistently charming. His storytelling, however, has a tendency to flag; Stark's life is truly remarkable, but there isn't much variety in it, and the career of a tiger trainer sometimes starts to seem much like any other dangerous job. Realistically presented animals seldom make good protagonists, and Hough's valiant efforts to give a distinct character to Rajah, Stark's prize wrestling tiger, aren't entirely successful. The grit and glamour of Stark's circus career will enchant a good many readers, but it's hard not to wish that this novel were leaner, quicker, more agile, more catlike.

Journal Entry 2 by Vapermom at The Grind in Trenton, Ontario Canada on Thursday, July 14, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (6/30/2016 UTC) at The Grind in Trenton, Ontario Canada

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