Cover Image: The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus

The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus

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Member Reviews

I’m fascinated with NaNoWriMo. The fact that someone can come up with an entire novel in a month is pretty mind boggling. No, actually what’s really mind boggling is that someone can come up with a really good novel in a month…yes, that is a nod to Elin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. Although, obviously, it isn’t an easy task, Morgenstern, after all, did take 8 years to produce her next book. So anyway, the reason I’m mentioning this is because this book was also a NaNoWriMo baby, at least it was conceived and conceptualized during it. But the thing is, I can kind of imagine this book being written in a month’s time. Not because it isn’t good, but it does have a sort of, I’m not sure, simplicity maybe, although in an ok way. Maybe straight forwardness is a more apt descriptor, although this book is so far from straight, it’s one of those queer quirky very politically correct things that are immediately associated with millennials. Everyone in the book is of varied ethnicities and many are somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella. Which is fine and great and I’m all for diversity in literature, but this one seems studiedly precociously so. It’s all about acceptance, friendship, standing up for yourself, following the beat of your own drum, love and so on. Very message y. Very well meaning well intentioned sort of book. And oh so cute, so whimsically cute, it’s like a certain actress name Zooey (in her prime) of books. You can just imagine it knitting you a rainbow sweater out of a sustainably sourced yarn while softly yodeling or something. Anyway, that was my main impression of the book. But there’s more to, there’s an actual plot, it features ghosts. It’s actually a very good ghost story and I very much enjoyed the ghost world building aspects of it. There are three kinds of ghosts, the regular ones (like our traveling protagonists), the very sad ones (wailers) and the very angry ones (poltergeists). And all of them are distinctly different with distinct abilities and powers. But out main ghost is Chelsea, happy 27 year old gay girl in love who can’t negotiate high heeled shoes and slippery subways and ends up struck by a train. Instead of moving on immediately, she gets to linger on and pal around with an older Latina ghost lady and a living homeless mute black girl who performs as a mime in Central park and can see and interact with ghosts. When Chelsea finds out that her bisexual (of course) brother Osric is going to be tying the knot with his lady love Tamika (yeah, those names, cause it’s so whee whee whimsical), she decides to travel all the way across the country to be there. Mind you, ghosts can only travel via actual ambulation, no cars, planes, trains, etc. This is well explained in the book, because, yeah, the world building is good. So Carmen the ghost and Cyndricka the living girl decide to join Chelsea and off they go…at a considerably slower pace now, because of all the real person considerations, but still, they’ve got months to walk and it’s…road trip.  Quintessential road trip story, really. You know, the one where everyone has new experiences, meets interesting characters and eventually matures. And it’s cute, it really is, in fact one can fault it for being too cute. It’s also very young, at least energy wise. And it’s very sincere. You’re meant to like these characters and care for them, everyone’s inner goodness shines through like…I don’t know…like shiny things through ghosts. And I suppose in the end it was just too cute for me. I liked it, it was very likeable, but (and this probably says more about personal preferences than the book itself) for me to really get into the book, it has to be darker, heavier, more…something. Definitely less millennial giddy. And that name, either way you spin it, it just reads like Sisterhood of Traveling Bras. Although apparently according to the characters only double C is reminiscent of bras. Really? Oh ok then. I mean, the name is essentially very descriptively accurate, they travel, they are fleshless (mostly), they entertain, all of their names begin with (oh how cute is that) with the letter C, but really wouldn’t just The Traveling Incorporeal Circus be a more respectable laugh proof title. Well, either way, that’s the title and that’s the book. And if cute (ghosts) is your bag, go for it. Either way, entertaining enough. Read fairly quickly too. Decent for a debut. Turns out not first time reading the author though, she also contributed a story to an absolute delight of an anthology As Told By Things. That one I recommend without reservations. This one, I’m not sure. I suppose it’s original enough (almost) and offbeat enough to merit a read. Thanks Netgalley.
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Weird, compelling, sad and a different point of view.

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

It took a couple of chapters to get into the plot.  At first, the timeline seemed to stretch forever - well, duh, it's mostly from the perspective of eternity.

Why do some ghosts linger and others are never heard from? How do the living sensitive people deal with the choas of the dead and when do you truly let go?

The story has some uncomfortable moments but is worth the time spent reading about acceptance and moving on.
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4.25 Stars. This was really good! I have to admit that this book surprised me. I was hoping to enjoy this but I sure did not expect it to be so good. I knew nothing about the book ahead of time. From now until November I’m going to be reading as many paranormal type books as I can. I love this time of year. While I had no expectations about this book, it ended up being a real treat to read.

Chelsea wants to go to her brother’s wedding. She was excited about it when she was alive, and it’s even more important to her now that she is dead. Unfortunately, ghosts can’t ride in planes or cars so Chelsea has to make it from NYC to California by walking. Her ghostly mentor and her human friend (who can see ghosts) decide to make the long cross country trip with Chelsea. Can the three friends make it in time for the wedding?

The premise seems a little out there, and it is, but this story is so well done. The diverse cast includes a wonderful mix of LGBTQ and het characters. Each character is fully fleshed out, even the dead ones, and you feel such a connection to them all. The human friend who is a mime is also mute. This is the third book I have read in maybe 45 days that has used American Sign Language. It’s so nice to see in books and I hope this becomes more the norm.

This book was much more introspective that I expected. And I think the heart of the book is about the strong friendship of these three women. This book has all the feels. From scary moments with the dangers of being on the road, to exciting moments with other ghosts, to happy and sad moments that make you cry and laugh in equal measure. This book even had the cutest damn cat of all time.

This is not an easy book to explain because it is so different but it’s well written and just well done period. I have been complaining about not being wowed too much lately in books, this book wowed and absolutely impressed me. If you want a book that will make you think, will make you laugh and cry and want to go hug your loved ones, this is that book. I hope more people will give this read a chance; it’s too good not to.
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I requested this book basing on description, because I wanted some not too long, light and easy novel to read while awaiting big releases. Somethin that won't engage me emotionally. And I got a bittersweet novel with three unremarkable characters and a cat (I love when cats are aknowledged, they rarely are). It was easy, it was light, but it was also very emotional and I had a great time reading it! There's so much about friendship there and about people who can bond with each other through laugh and through pain. I have to say I'm gonna miss them and I am a little sad that this is the end.
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I don't know what happened. The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus, by Alanna McFall, seems to be extremely well loved on Goodreads, but I found it so boring, I had to DNF it at 42% (and I did try to get to at least half of it, not to speak of how hard it is for me to DNF a book in the first place).⁠
There is nothing inherently bad or wrong with this book. It is incredibly diverse, full of strong, complex female characters, and portrays friendship and love in a beautiful way. However, the plot was not strong enough to hold my attention for long, and I ended up bored, always checking which page I was on to see how close I was to finishing it.⁠ 

I don't know how this book ends, and the fact that it doesn't bother me is very telling. But I'm glad so many people loved it, and I can see how such a heartwarming story could jump to some people's top reads.
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