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Serpent Girl: A Novel
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Serpent Girl: A Novel

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
“The guys who were supposed to be my crew, my pals, my posse, had left me for dead, after I had gone above and beyond for them, after I had sussed out the perfect score, after I had done my homework, after I had overcome their stupidity, after I had sacrificed my near-virginity by having sex with the limbless lady.”

When he wakes up naked by the side of the highway in the m
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Villard (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 219)
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Apr 01, 2011 David rated it really liked it
This was a quick read... Lot's of white space on the pages. But it was a fun book. Bailey Quinn is a looser burnout petty thief who decides to get his act together by joining the circus. The story begins as Bailey wakes up on the side of the road. He had been dumped there by his double crossing buddies after they ripped off the payroll from the circus. Much of the story is told in flash back mode. We alternate between learning about Bailey's life in the circus and his quest to exact vengeance on ...more
May 23, 2016 Noah rated it liked it
so i read this book in middle school and it was one of the first books i read that had sex in it and i still think about that chapter a lot because it introduced that weird intersection of dehumanization and desexualization & it describes him rolling her body around like a tire on a pole or something & i kind of use it as a benchmark for comparison to other sex scenes i witness but also it was really fucked up and i kind of hated the protagonist because what the fuck he burns down the en ...more
Jenni Lathrop
Jun 18, 2015 Jenni Lathrop rated it really liked it
Okay, sure, it sounds as crass as it is. And the plot is pretty thin (simple revenge plot). And there isn’t anything really redeeming about any of the characters (aside from Sissy). But this book was so much fun!

It’s a quick read, easily slipping from present to past events to even further past events and back again. Bailey really just wants to get some money to go back to college and he plans to get it by stealing from the circus owners who are pretty shady to begin with. It goes wrong when his
Shelley Jones
May 26, 2014 Shelley Jones rated it really liked it
This was a crazy, fast-paced, bizarre look into the drug hazy life of Bailey, who regains consciousness on the side of the road after having been badly beaten. What follows is Bailey putting together the pieces of the puzzle that landed him there. This was like a Quentin Tarantino film on speed. Its a very quick read that keeps your attention until the end.
Aug 16, 2009 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
SETTING: American West
WHY: Bailey Quinn is a college dropout and recreational drug user who decides to join the circus to get away from his messed-up life and prepare for returning to school. He and his friends do a lot of "copping free", meaning they steal stuff but don't really harm anyone. He figures out a way to do that with the circus. Part of his plan involves sleeping with the Limbless Lady, Eelie. His partners rip him off and almost kill him, which lea
Jan 19, 2014 John rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, comedy
Quick, fun circus sideshow of a book. Not as full - fledged Geek Love, but I enjoyed it. We're supposed to somehow identify with the main character, Bailey, but I found him too shallow and liaisons both unremarkable and unbelievable, except Serpent Girl herself.

Most freaky is that they got blurbs out of Elmore Leonard, Call Heaven, and Mike Myers for the jacket.
Nov 04, 2008 Richard rated it it was ok
Written by screenwriter Matthew Carnahan, this reads much more like a first draft of a script than a fully realized novel. The setup- a former carny robs his old bosses, then is double crossed by his crew and left for dead- is interesting, but the rest of the book is rushed and forced into barely two hundred pages, which leaves no time for important things like characterization or plot. The book feels like a writing exercise combining the movies Freaks and True Romance, sadly removing the creepi ...more
Lillia Gajewski
Sep 29, 2016 Lillia Gajewski rated it really liked it
There are elements of this book that aren't really my cup of tea, but it kept me reading, and the story is well told but easy to follow with just enough depth to make it worthwhile.
Feb 11, 2010 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-fic
I really enjoyed this book! It was different, tautly written, highly entertaining and intelligent, too. Though short for a novel (just under two hundred pages), its pace was consistent and a startling amount of story and character was conveyed to the reader. Were it not for the whole circus aspect, it would make for an excellent film (I think it would be just too offensive on the big screen for most audiences). I really enjoyed this debut novel and will definitely be keeping an eye out for any f ...more
Cory Taylor
Aug 13, 2014 Cory Taylor rated it it was amazing
Unexpected and fantastic debauchery
Carly Miller
May 31, 2013 Carly Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: college-for-fun
I devour books about circus freaks and this one was absolutely compelling to me from start to finish. A very easy read with some truly nasty characters.

It's been over a year since I read the book, so I fear this review isn't much to go on. I just remember sitting in stunned silence at the end and barely putting it down throughout. However, I can't remember it fully, so it obviously wasn't a life changer.
Donna Jo Atwood
Dec 03, 2009 Donna Jo Atwood rated it did not like it
This book had some good blurbs, but the story is not for me. I had read Geek Love and was fascinated/repelled by the the characters. In Serpent Girl, I was just repelled. If you enjoy books about drugs and sex you might like this, I didn't. Oh, yes, the book do take place in a circus/carnie atmosphere.

Task 10.1 Under the Big Top
Mar 08, 2008 dana rated it liked it
I picked this up on the behalf of the author's best friend who lived down the beach from me.

The depiction of the life is captivating, even from someone who has lived a parallel existance but in the luxury of tour buses and catered food.

I'm not one to pick up fluffy chic-lit for my weekend at the beach, this is more my speed. An easy enjoyable read.
Mar 03, 2009 Djrmel rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
I read this as research, otherwise I would have stopped about 10 pages in. Mr. Carnahan may have a style that passes as modern, but I thought the writing was amateurish and self-consciously "cool". If you're looking for an insider's view of life working in a carnival, it's a fast read with some good information. Otherwise, I couldn't recommend it.
Aug 01, 2011 M rated it liked it
This fast-paced novel mixes high crime and circus freaks and hits puree. Bailey Quinn has finally found a way to get on his feet - by ripping off the carnival freakshow that has hired him. Unfortunately for Bailey, he finds betrayal at every turn - and a vengeful, limbless ex-girlfriend hunting him down.
Jul 04, 2009 Gregory rated it liked it
Contemporary fiction which introduced a world that I'm not used to...and that's OK. The book kept pulling me forward and I finished it in just a couple of hours. If you enjoy reading about circus freaks, meth tweaks and general skank then you'll like this book. If not stay far, far away.
Mar 15, 2015 Judy rated it liked it
A quick read that was strangely compelling. I wanted to know what happened and what was going to happen next with this rag tag group of shallow and self-centered characters. Sure the book could have been fleshed out a bit more for a longer read but it wasn't too shabby as is.
Apr 20, 2008 bannikin rated it liked it
I like this kind of book. You know? Freaky and gritty and maybe a little uncomfortable and startling. I like it when things are said concisely and there's appropriate use of slang. I like my protagonists dirty and morally ambiguous.

I liked it.
Dec 28, 2012 Ali rated it liked it
Quick read. Fast moving story. Not as big a story as Geek Love or Fortune's Bastard, but delivers the repugnance. What can I say? I have a thing for circus, carnival freak-show stories. Look away. I can't look away.
Jan 16, 2013 Alex rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this novel. It was a quick and easy read that still managed to enthrall and amuse me with the very vivid picture it paints.
Oct 15, 2013 Jeny rated it liked it
Interesting characters and plot line. This style book is out of my usual read which made it fun and a quick read.
Aug 18, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it
Fun, fast-paced, full of one double-crossing after another. Memorable characters
Jun 07, 2007 Carol rated it did not like it
Funniest first sentence ever. It didn't live up to this promise.
May 26, 2008 Justin rated it did not like it
One word review...Sucks!
Jan 10, 2008 Pam marked it as to-read
Shelves: mystery
01/10/08 rec via bookmooch
Araba marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2016
Missamanuensis is currently reading it
Jun 30, 2016
Leigh J.
Leigh J. marked it as to-read
May 30, 2016
Martina Liu
Martina Liu marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
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Matthew McNair Carnahan is an American producer, writer and director.

Carnahan studied at New York University as well as the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

He has a daughter with companion Helen Hunt, Måkena lei Gordon Carnahan (born 2004). He also has a son, Emmett.
More about Matthew Carnahan...

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