Fall of the Flamingo Circus
by Kate Rigby
What is it about:
Fall Of The Flamingo Circus is the story of a strong and independent girl’s childhood and adolescence, her desperate battle to make something of the fearful hand dealt to her.
Through her eyes we see the realities of poverty in England – hunger and junk food, boredom and noise at home, snobbery and notoriety at school – and the fear of a brutal father...over the years we watch Lauren’s voice grow in power and imagination, as her life – a rebel, a punk, admired by her gang but rejected and victimised by men – bursts out of its sad confines...
but Lauren is always alone with her restless and furious self: she alone will discover the pain and loneliness of being different, crazy, colourful in an England turned grey, obedient and satisfied.
What did I think of it:
I first read this book back in 1990 in the Dutch translation and fell in love with it. I reread it many times in the years after, but not since I switched to mostly reading in English.
Not long ago I mentioned this book to a friend and it made me want to do another reread. I got hold of the English version this time.
And again I was gripped by this story and I was reminded why I fell in love with it all these years ago.
Lauren is a bit of an antihero. She doesn't fit in and is angry at the world. Then Punk arrives and it's like it is made for her. All her rage and disgust find an outlet. She revels in being different, in shocking people. In rebelling against the world she finds her place in it.
But then her friends all find purpose in life, other ways to live and they move away from the Punk scene. Can Lauren find a way to do the same, to find peace and a way to move into adulthood without losing herself?
So many things in this story spoke to me back then and still resonate with me now. Lauren's life might not be like my own, but many of the feelings she struggles with feel familiar.
Told like a diary the story begins when Lauren is seven years old. One of the things I like is how her writing progresses as she grows up, making it feel real.
Lauren isn't easy to love, but to those who struggle, or have struggled, to find their place in life she's very relatable.
Why should you read it:
It's a strong story about finding your place in the world.
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