I was a bit disappointed in this story. I guess with all the hype I was expecting more. What bothered me most was the seemingly instantaneous love the main character Jacob has for the main female character, Marlena (and she for him). It seems to come out of no-where. Of course, he could have a crush on her, but even as the story progresses there are rare instances in the book that the relation is given to develop. You don’t learn until very late in the book why Marlena likes Jacob so much, and she has to explain it because you can’t see how it happens.I do like the alternating chapters with the old Jacob. Those really work. You understand him, his life, and where he’s coming from as an old man, but as others have said, he’s a bit too grumpy to be the same nice Jacob he was earlier in his life. He is a good character, though.
Being a history buff I also like the information about circus life in the 30s, but even this is a little hard at times, with the lingo sometimes explained and sometimes not.
In general, I liked the story but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. A good, mindless summer read nonetheless.