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The Book Nook: "Very Special People" (Frederick Drimmer)

Growing up, I would often disappear for hours downstairs in order to peruse the various books in my Mom and Dad's book collection.  In that collection, I found many fascinating books- from haunted houses, to the "Resurrection Men"; from Joseph Merrick to sideshow "freaks"...

"Very Special People" by Frederick Drimmer details the existence and lives of some of the most famous sideshow "freaks" in history.  Beaded Ladies, Dogface Boys, Giants and Midgets, and a cast of others spanning the spectrum of human "oddities".  While it certainly dips into sensationalism at times, it does attempt to be fairly compassionate and respectful of the lives he writes about- especially when covering what it was like to be a sideshow exhibit during the Victorian era in general.

I must warn you though- there is a "dark" appreciation, and "grim" appreciation for the nature of the people discussed within this book.  At times, it takes a macabre delight in telling you about the various deformities, medical conditions, and physical features of those involved.  To be honest, I'm not entirely sure such a book would be written today- or at least, not with the morbid fascination found within the words on the pages.

While it is certainly a little "creepy" at times, "Very Special People" is still a mesmerizingly fascinating book to read.  I wouldn't recommend it for everyone- but for those interested in this side of Victorian Era life, it could certainly prove interesting.  I'm going to have to give it a "Bad".


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