What would you do if your children were snatched by the circus and forced to be displayed as part of what was then called the Freak Show? This is the true story of a mother's search for her sons after they were kidnapped by the circus.
The story seemed so crazy, many didn't believe it at first, black or white.—Truevine by Beth Macy (Hachette Book Group, Little, Brown, 2016, Chapter 1, ARC)
But for a century, it was whispered and handed down in the segregated black communities of Roanoke, the regional city hub about thirty miles from Truevine. Worried parents would tell their children to stick together when they left home to see a circus, festival, or fair.
- Setting: Truevine, VA and everywhere the circus went, early 1900s
- Circumstances: The Muse brothers (six and nine years old) were African American albinos who, in 1899, were lured into the circus after a side-show scout told them their mother had died. Harriet, however, was very much alive and determined to rescue her boys no matter how long it took and how arduous the task.
- Genre: nonfiction; investigative journalism
- Themes: circus life, motherhood, kidnapping, brothers, Jim Crow South, sociocultural attitudes toward the disabled and different
- Things to know: Beth Macy takes a broad focus: we learn about the brothers and what they endured in the circus, we follow their mother's search to find them, and we meet current family members. There is a photo insert in the book, some of which you can see in the following video.
- Reviews: Most reviews have been very positive. In fact, Truevine is a finalist for the Kirkus 2016 Prize.