The Electric Woman by Tessa Fontaine

The Electric Woman

A daughter’s astonishing memoir of pushing past fear, through life in a traveling sideshow and her mother’s illnessTurns out, one lesson applies to living through illness, keeping the show on the road, letting go of the person you love most, and eating fire:The trick is there is no trick. You eat fire by eating fire. Two journeys—a daughter’s and a mother’s—bear witness to this lesson in The Electric Woman.For three years Tessa Fontai...

Details The Electric Woman

TitleThe Electric Woman
Release DateMay 1st, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Electric Woman

    I received an advance reader copy from publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley.Tessa Fontaine was 30 when she was invited for a 5-month stint with America's last traveling sideshow, the World of Wonders. She started as a bally girl (someone that lures people to buy tickets for the show), then progressed to snake handling, handcuff escape, and fire eating. But her education in the sideshow arts did not end there. She performed the illusi...
  • Keith Beasley-Topliffe
    Fascinating. Tessa Fontaine, a young woman (with an MFA in literature) joins World of Wonders, the last traveling sideshow, for their 2013 season--150 days of long hours, hard work, and performing as a bally girl (outside the show, helping lure customers inside with fire eating and such), a talker (providing a running commentary on some of the inside acts), and a performer (the headless woman, the four-legged woman, and ultimately as the electric...
  • Amy Morgan
    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. I absolutely loved reading this story. The author presents a good balance of her life before and during her time with the sideshow. She has a great grasp on the peopke around her and really makes you feel a part of whst she was experiencing. Brave, honest and adventurous this was an excellent read!
  • Lesley
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book. After her mother suffers from a debilitating stroke, Tessa decides joins a traveling sideshow. The story nicely parallels her mother's story of progress with Tessa's time in the World of Wonders. I could almost smell the stench of sweat and feel the author's tired muscles as she worked tirelessly for the show. This book was a mesmerizing look into the world of freak shows and carniva...
  • Bob Carleson
    The trick is, There is no trick. Sage words coming from the author as she plunges into an unknowable world of a side show of all things. Why a side show we ask. The only thing comes to mind has to do with adrenaline rush and exploring a curious new world. Ms. Fontaine took us on a nervous (for me, as hollywood had me preparing for disaster at every moment) knife box, sword swallowing trip working with people who appear threatening at first. Come ...
  • Mark Jobs
    Loved this book! Tessa Fontaine gives you a glimpse into the rarely seen world of a traveling carnival show, while paralleling an ongoing traumatic family struggle. Gritty and glamorous, heart breaking and heart warming, funny and frightening; Fontaine takes you up and down through this memoir. What is fact and what is fiction in a world of headless women and sword swallowers? The Electric Woman is a must read.
  • Dave Harris
    What a wonderful book! Ms Fontaine joins the last traveling U.S. sideshow. She explores the closed society of the "carney" and is faced with the contrast between the performer’s confrontation of stage danger and the display of real life bravery by her Mother. This is a sensitive treatment of extremes, dreams and regrets.
  • Kayo
    A fun and exciting look at the carnie life. Loved the relationship with her parents.Thanks to author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it
  • Rachel Watkins
    Tessa Fontaine is a brave woman: a snake handler, a fire breather, a daughter who is losing her mother to a massive brain injury. Her memoir of her time traveling for a season as a performer in the last traveling sideshow is more than a documentary of freak show. It is the story of a daughter coming to terms with the woman her mother was and it’s so beautifully written. Highly recommend.
  • Brent
    Brilliant, beautiful, and brave! The first "must read" book of 2018If this book doesn't inspire you to soak up every possible moment of life, then you just aren't paying enough attention.
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    So so good a look at Carnie life family relations.Tessa Fontaine story kept me turning the pages.#netgalley #fsg
  • Bonnie Brody
    When I was a child of a certain age, my favorite book was Toby Tyler. He was a young boy who joined the circus. I thought that was the neatest thing. In 'The Electric Woman', Tessa Fontaine, a grown woman, decides to join a real carnival, specifically their side show. She tells them she is able to eat fire and perform other acts that she is unable to do. "Sideshows are where people come to see public displays of their private fears: of deformity,...
  • Kyra Johnson
    The Electric Woman is the fascinating and beautifully written memoir of Tessa Fontaine. Tessa artfully intertwines her personal account of straying from her comfort zone by joining the last traveling US sideshow as a fire eater and her family’s struggle after her mother suffers from a debilitating stroke. The story gives you a look inside carnival life, the bravery of Tessa and her mother, and the hardships people will go through to overcome a ...
  • Marybeth Taranow
    I requested this book because I love anything related to freak shows and carnivals. This did not disappoint. This was full of self discovery, strength and healing. I will recommend this book highly and will purchasing a physical copy as well.