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Paperback Freaks: Alive, on the Inside! Book

ISBN: 0689870388

ISBN13: 9780689870385

Freaks: Alive, on the Inside!

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

If this is a dream, why does she seem so real? Though Abel Dandy was born to circus performers and grew up in a troupe of odd and inexplicable people, he has never felt limited by his normalcy--until now. Realizing he'll never be more amazing than the talented oddities around him, Abel can only dream of living a life richer than his own. But in his dreams a mysterious woman beckons him, calling him passionately by a name he doesn't know and speaking...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Absorbing, wonderful novel

There are moments when you go to the bookstore with a specific purpose in mind, and you come home with the treasure you set out to find. There are other moments when one can wander around the bookstore experiencing myriad temptations, but nothing speaks to you. And then there are times like I had yesterday afternoon. Times in which you wander quite aimlessly to and fro and then a book catches your eye and you feel its pull and you just know that you will have to leave with that book. Yesterday that book was Freaks by Annette Curtis Klause. The full title of the story is Freaks: Alive, on the Inside, but I prefer the simple title and will thus refer to it in that regard for the remainder of this review. There is no mystery regarding my initial attraction to this book: It was the James Jean cover that did it! The cover art of James Jean never fails to illicit that response in me. The fact that this book was written by Annette Curtis Klause, whose novel Blood and Chocolate is a New York Times bestseller, sealed my fate. I was currently in the middle of another book, but true to my nature I arrived home that day with the intention of just taking a taste of this novel before returning to my current read. Dame Fortune had other plans. An introductory quote by Edgar Allan Poe and the line, "When a boy's first romantic interlude is with Phoebe the Dog-Faced Girl, he feels the need to get out into the world and find a new life." was all it took...I was lost. Freaks is the story of 17 year old Abel Dandy, an oddity amongst oddities, as he is the only non-freak in the freak show. An ever-present sense of not fitting in prompts Abel to leave the only family he has ever known to seek his fortune elsewhere. A parting gift of a scarab ring and words of fate spoken in his ear bring Abel Dandy dreams in which a beautiful and mysterious woman beckons to him with words of passion and pleas for rescue. Freaks is a teen novel, and as such I was not sure what to expect. Having seen Tod Browning's controversial 1932 film of the same name, I had visions of this novel treading along those same paths. I had no idea, however, of the truth of that film's inspirational influence on this novel and found myself pleasantly surprised with the depth of emotion and the powerful sense of community and family that inhabits these pages. Annette Curtis Klause has written a thoroughly researched tale of life during the time when freak shows and traveling oddities were a booming business. That research (which she discusses in an afterward) lends such a strong sense of history and realism to the story. Set amidst that backdrop is the story of a young boy coming of age, struggling to find identity during the twilight of adolescence and the dawn of manhood. And if that isn't enough, Klause deftly weaves a mysterious Egyptian reincarnation romance, reminiscent of the subplot in the film The Mummy Returns, into her tale. Within a few pages, Freaks becomes a page turner. Mystery, su

Rollicking read

This book gripped me from the very first page. I never could quite get into Annette Curtis Klause's previous books, but this one was up my alley. I've always found circus freaks interesting--the way people were marketed just for being different, regarded by the general public with awe, fear, and/or fascination, how they must have lived in this strange combination of fame and admiration and being set apart from the rest of the world. Ms. Klause captures all this and wraps it up in a fascinating story. There is a large cast of characters, but she handles them all well, creating a memorable, distinct and highly likable group. I especially liked the sweet (and sometimes bittersweet) romances between some of the "freaks" that play out over the course of the book. The book is also a great page-turner, with constant action, but it never seems like page-slogging action like some books...I was always invested in Abel's fate. If I have one complaint, it's Abel's own romance...although the scenario was intriguing (I won't give away too much), I wish the girl had been better developed as a character, and several flashbacks didn't quite work for me. However, this is a very small nitpick--I enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed few other YAs to come along in recent years.

I'm Glad I Read This Book!

I almost didn't read this book. I was in the signing area at Book Expo America, and a friend pointed the book out to me. I grabbed a copy thinking "why not." As soon as I got home, I put it on my shelf, but something kept drawing me to it. I decided to put the book I was already reading aside, and start Freaks. I fully expected to read a couple of pages and put it down, but I was hooked from the first sentence on. This is a great read for Young Adults. Abel Dandy is a great character and the Freaks are worth the price of admission. Klause has written a wonderful story that has you cheering out loud for the good guys, and jeering the evil Dr. Mink (not to mention Ceecee.) I highly recommend it.


A book that has something for everyone! Amazing adventures, loveable misfits, kidnappings, murder, mythology, history, thrilling battles and a romance that sweeps across time and defies death. Readers will remember FREAKS long after they finish the last page. Although labeled for young adults, this book will appeal to every aged reader. It's about a young man with a legless father and armless mother who lives in a freak-community called Faeryland. Born healthy with no deformities, Abel doesn't feel he fits in and yearns for adventure and romance. A mysterious ring gives him a vision of a beautiful woman and guides him on a fantastic journey unlike any other book I've ever read. The closest I can compare this to is Nancy Farmer's thrilling novels. I loved this book and expect to see it on Newbery, Best Books, and Printz shortlists. And it would make a great movie, too.

A Dreamy Adventure Novel With A Historical Twist

Seventeen-year-old Abel Dandy has a problem. He is too normal. In a home that is far from typical, Abel lives in Faeryland, a carnival-type land where visitors can see performances that include "an extravaganza of amazing oddities, mystifying the audience with their uncanny skills, death-defying deeds, and wondrous physiognomy." Abel's parents are performers where they can put their anomalies to use. Papa has no legs and performs as the bottom half of a torso in Uncle Jack's illusion act. And Abel's Mama has no arms, but can knit up a storm with her toes. Abel's parents are lucky because in 1899 there are not many ways for people like them, "freaks," to make a living. Abel has lived in Faeryland most of his life. Along with his parents and uncle, he has grown up with an extended family of dwarves, fat ladies and Siamese twins, as well as Phoebe the Dog-Faced Girl and her brother Apollo the Puppy Boy. Abel is the only one without an act or oddity. He fears that if he stays in Faeryland, he'll be doomed to a life with Phoebe as his wife. She is the only girl his age at home, and he has a brief romance with her, but inside he longs for a normal girl --- one without facial hair. Abel is tired of feeling like a normal freak among the oddities and a "freak" among the townies. He decides to run away to seek fortune and find the girl of his dreams. Ironically, a girl does come to him --- in his dreams. Abel recently was given an Egyptian scarab ring from one of the Siamese twins. The twin claimed that a scholar told her to give the ring to Abel because a goddess in a dream told her to give it to him. As soon as Abel has the ring in his possession, he begins to have strange dreams about a mysterious foreign woman he calls Lady Adventure. In his dreams, he falls in love with her, watches her dance, and then listens to her pleas for help. As Abel sets out into the world beyond Faeryland, he finds that life is not as great as he had hoped. He isn't any happier and often has to do horrible work under even worse conditions. He also learns that the outside world treats people like his parents and friends back home terribly. Often times, they are sent to places like asylums and are given no chance at a life for themselves. Then, Abel comes upon a traveling freak show, Dr. Mink's Monster Menagerie, with a terrible secret, and his adventure becomes even more dangerous but also more important. FREAKS: ALIVE ON THE INSIDE! is an adventure novel with a historical twist. As author Annette Curtis Klause notes at the back of the book, many of the characters in this story were based on real-life human oddities from the late 1800s. This, perhaps, is the most interesting aspect of the story. The characters are clearly unique, and the story is driven. At times, the dream sequences with Lady Adventure seemed to come out of nowhere, but in the end, it comes together more clearly. Overall, FREAKS is truly an original. --- Reviewed by Kristi Olson
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