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2 Works 131 Members 4 Reviews

About the Author

Tessa Fontaine's writing has appeared in Glamour, The Believer, Creative Nonfiction, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She has taught writing and performance in prisons and founded the Salt Lake City Writers in the Schools program. She also eats fire and charms snakes, among other sideshow feats. She show more lives in South Carolina. show less

Works by Tessa Fontaine


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I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Two years after her mother experiences a devastating stroke and is still severely disabled, the author’s parents decide to take a trip to Italy. The author decides to spend a season with a traveling sideshow to take her mind off her grief and worry. The work is grueling and she has to be fearless to learn the acts. Fascinating look behind the scenes and at the lives of the people who work the shows. Stellar writing.
redwritinghood38 | 3 other reviews | Nov 6, 2018 |
This is an astonishing memoir. Fontaine's mother has a catastrophic stroke and Fontaine joins a sideshow where she tests the limit of her body learning to sword swallow, eat fire, and numerous other skills. As she points out in the prologue - there are no tricks - you learn to do these things by doing them. Brutal, beautiful, funny and heartbreaking. I've gone on record saying I don't care for circuses or freak shows but I ate up every word of this wonderful book and wept at the end.
laurenbufferd | 3 other reviews | Oct 24, 2018 |
Love, courage, living and what it takes. Tess's mother has survived a horrendous bleeding stroke and multiple complications and with her step dad is taking her to Italy while Tess is working a season in a carnival sideshow. Due to a divorce when she was too young to have clear memories Tess does not trust her mother's love and denies love in return, at least outwardly. Her mother's stroke has blown away her hope of a verbal resolution, but not all hope and her stint as a sideshow performer is her act of courage and resolution, which like all challenges reveals more than expected.

Well written, well paced, and teaming with personalities and life this is a rare journey.
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quondame | 3 other reviews | Jun 24, 2018 |
The Electric Woman is the fascinating and beautifully written memoir of Tessa Fontaine. Tessa manages to artfully intertwine her personal account of straying from her comfort zone by joining the last traveling US sideshow as a fire eater and her family’s struggle after her mother suffers from a debilitating stroke.

The story gives you a look inside carnival life, the bravery of Tessa and her mother, and the hardships people will go through to overcome a tragedy. Tessa is such a positive and humorous person and it really resonates in her writing. This was such an enjoyable and heartwarming read. This book is the ultimate ode to living life to its fullest and I highly recommend you pick up a copy!… (more)
kyralf90 | 3 other reviews | May 9, 2018 |





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