Welcome to the blog tour for Carnival Girl by Sonja Hebert!
Today I have a guest post and review, but first a little info on the book!
Meet the Author:
Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-World War II Germany.
Sonja converted to the LDS Church, later married, and immigrated to the United States, where she received a bachelor of arts degree at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, and a master of arts degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She also raised six children, taught school and ESL, and is now a freelance writer.
Besides her childhood memoir, Sonja has also written many autobiographical stories, which have been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and other anthologies. A biographical novel about her half-Jewish mother’s experiences in Nazi Germany is almost finished.
Sonja lives in Provo with her husband and cat. You can find more about her unusual life at germanwriter.com.
When I was a little girl, traveling in our small carnival caravan, I often listened to my mother talking about how she used to be a model in Berlin, the greatest city of Europe, and how she had to leave and hire on with the circus in order to stay ahead of the Nazis.
During the few times we carnival children attended school, I once received an A for a story about a Greek myth I had written, and on that day I decided to write about my mother’s life when I grew up.
All through the time I raised my six children here in the U.S.A., this thought was with me, and when the younger ones were a bit older, I started on my mother’s story. As the story unfolded, I realized that it would not be complete unless I also told my own story, the story of my childhood and my life with my mother.
And that’s how Carnival Girl began. I originally called it Conversations with Margot (my mother’s first name), but since the novel I wrote about her life isn’t published yet, I decided to re-name the memoir and publish it first.
As I wrote the story and remembered the things that happened in my early life, old feelings also returned, and I had to confront the childish reactions of my younger self. Now, as a grown woman, I was able to see things I had not seen as a little girl, and when my memoir was finished, I had a new insight and understanding for my mother, who had suffered so much and still came out ahead.
My mother, Margot, is now ninety-one years old. She lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and is still going strong!
Thank you Mutti, for everything you have taught me!
Sonja has known nothing but living on the go. Growing up in Germany after World War II is interesting enough, but Sonja's parents run a carnival. This means Sonja is always moving from place to place. This can make it difficult to make friends and get a consistent education, but none of this holds Sonja back. Not even being stuffed in a small caravan with her 3 siblings can hold her down. Sonja tries to make the best of her life, and even manages to find something she didn't know she was looking for- religion. Her faith allows her to make a new life, but she never forgets her old one.
I found this book very interesting. What a fascinating way to grow up! I really felt for Sonja's mom; she seemed to chafe with the constant moving. That would be so hard, especially with so many small children. In some ways though, that lifestyle seems like something I dreamed of as a child. Running a carnival was definitely interesting as evidenced by this book. There were also some unique situations the family found themselves in. I do with one particular thing had been delved into a little deeper, but I can see why it wasn't.
I think my favorite aspect of this book was Sonja's search for a sense of self and home even. She eventually found this, but I don't think it's where she expected. Through everything though, you can tell Sonja has an amazing affection for her mother. In some ways this is a very sweet tribute to all her mother went through raising children on the road. I am really looking forward to the book about her mother's life during the war. This is a book that many people will enjoy. It reads like fiction in some ways, but it is all real. It's a great book.
Book provided for review.
Book provided for review.
Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour!!