The Final Confession of Mabel Stark by Robert Hough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Final Confession of Mabel Stark is the fictional telling of the life of Mabel Stark, world famous tiger trainer for the circus. While the story covers some basic truths the author takes some controversial liberties (sexual in nature) in filling in the gaps. This didn't bother me, but some may take offense- consider yourself warned.
Mabel Stark (whose real name was Mary Haynie) was clearly an incredible woman. She went from cooch dancer to world renowned tiger trainer seemingly overnight. She did things under the big top that no other trainer was capable of. Despite having had some major run ins with a few of the big cats, she kept right on living her dream. She never let anyone or anything get in her way.
I found it interesting to see the differences from that time period to now. The circus travelling from town to town via train. How the workingmen and performers would set up for a night or two, hit the town on nights off, and pack up to do it all over again a couple towns over the next day. I also found the stories of her various marriages rather compelling. Though the real number was 6, I believe only 5 were depicted in the story. My favorite was Art, as was hers it seems.
There was plenty going on, but it didn't seem to be a page turner for me. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book though! It was an interesting story, but not for the faint of heart.
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