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Carnival Girl: Searching for God in the Aftermath of War by Sonja Herbert

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The only life little Sonja Francesco has ever known is traveling the carnival circuit and living with her five siblings in a tiny caravan home. The family never stays anywhere long enough for Sonja to make friends or develop roots. The only one in her family, Sonja always believed in God and wants to belong to a church.

At fourteen, Sonja meets the Mormon missionaries and develops a strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel. But can she live the commandments while traveling with the carnival and running one of the attractions every Sunday? Will it be possible for her to leave her family’s life behind and live the life she has always dreamed of?

Goodreads Summary

How many times have we wished we could be part of a carnival? Sonja, the main character, travels in a caravan home and helps "build" carnivals. Her life may seem exciting, but it is apparent that it may be less than ideal. Margot, Sonja's mother, first started travelling with the carnival to hide during WWII. Margot is not a religious woman, can be a little crass, and rarely fawns over her children. Whether or not Margot knows it, she plays a large part in shaping Sonja's character. Sonja mainly wants her family to appreciate and love her. She doesn't always feel noticed or care about and simply wants to do her best. It could be said that Sonja's loneliness led her to God. Will Sonja's deepening faith lessen or cause trouble with her family?

This memoir is not exactly up-lifting. The readers will most likely find themselves wanting to hug Sonja. Sonja speaks plainly and succinctly in the memoir; the only subject the reader may want to know more about would be Sonja's parents-how did they meet? What happened to Margot during the War? Getting to know Sonja made this book worth reading for me. The book isn't fast-paced, but this isn't a book a reader would probably want to skim through. This book is set in a very topsy-turvy, unsettled time in history, a setting that adds to the novel. Overall, this book is recommended to adult readers.

3 1/2 Stars

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Unknown said...:

    Thanks for your very nice review!

  1. Vanessa said...:

    I love books with a carnival or circus element. with that and the time period, this book sounds very interesting.

  1. erin said...:

    thanks for a great review! Gotta go check this one out :)