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Josser: The Secret Life of a Circus Girl
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Josser: The Secret Life of a Circus Girl

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  56 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
JOSSER is the powerful and moving account of Oxford-educated Nell Stroud's life in the circus. It is also the story of the people of the circus: the trapeze artists, the clowns, the high-wire acts, the grooms, the llamas, the elephants - their commitment and expertise, their hard, marginalised, miraculous lives. Following a terrible riding accident which left her mother ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published April 6th 2000 by Virago (first published April 1st 1999)
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Jan 02, 2010 Jonathan rated it liked it
Shelves: circus, nonfiction
This is one of my two favorite circus books, the other being Two Dogs, a Donkey, and a Frenchwoman, which you can find out about below. This is Stroud’s memoir of her time on a couple small shows in England. I have never been on a one-room tent show, so I can’t tell you for sure how they compare to American shows, but I think they style of circus is a little different (American shows tend toward sap and spectacle in the Barnum and Disney traditions), and I think the British circus life has ...more
May 24, 2011 Wendy added it
I love getting a peek in to the world of the circus. Now she has her own amazing family circus that tours in england.
Apr 20, 2012 Cass rated it really liked it
found this book while looking for workouts that Circus performers do.
It's not my preferred Genre (historical non-fiction or natural sciences) but it's about a little love of mine, the Circus, so I was sure it'd be a nice, fun read.

Despite a complete lack of a plot, the story kept me captivated. I found myself putting the book down and reexamining the way the light shone in the room, or the air in the words spoken between me and someone else-- the same way Nell describes life in the Circus. I b
Oct 01, 2010 Peter rated it it was ok
After her mother suffers a serious accident, stroud runs away to the circus. She loves to ride elephants and horses. Unfortunately, she also tries to chronicle her experience. She is unable to tell an interesting anecdote, much less one that has a deeper meaning. She also fails to describe the other circus people in a memorable way. She settles instead for a listing of banalities when she can keep her train of thought.

The takeaway: circus life is hard (hard work, no home), but allows for talent
Kris Larson
Jan 23, 2011 Kris Larson rated it really liked it
I've been craving first-person accounts of circus life (don't ask me where such a craving comes from; I've no idea), and this was an excellent place to start. Stroud is lyrical and observant. I could do with a bit more discussion of the technical aspects of being a circus performer and fewer descriptions of nights spent drinking with the other performers, but all in all a good solid read.
Jackie Herbert-Valentine
Apr 03, 2012 Jackie Herbert-Valentine rated it really liked it
Written in a very distinct and clever way, which takes a little getting used to as at first it appears skitty and jumpy. There is a lot of depth to this book which gives a honest insight to life on the road. Would have loved to have seen a follow up with the story of the fruition of Giffords.
Sep 03, 2008 Ali rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Megan
One of the most memorable events of this year has been our trip to Gifford's Circus. This is the memoir of the woman who came to set up Gifford's. Incredibly atmospheric (though written an the sparest of language sometimes) and totally devoid of sentimentality.
Oct 25, 2011 Greta rated it really liked it
Very interesting look at the circus from the inside. I admired her tenacity as she worked in awful, menial, circus jobs in order to pursue her dream. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Laura Bittner
Jan 17, 2012 Laura Bittner rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
This author is just not very well written. 30 pages in and I'm abandoning it for better reading endeavors.
Lizzy May
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Stephanie A.
Jan 08, 2013 Stephanie A. rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Boo. Not NEARLY enough detail about circus life/being a circus girl.
Heather Meadows
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Apr 19, 2015
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Sep 30, 2016
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Jun 29, 2009
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Jun 17, 2011
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