Fiona's homeless, alcoholic father has other plans, however. He wants Fiona to "work" the streets to support his drinking and pursues her across the midwest until she is forced to abandon the train in Houston to avoid a sheriff bent on returning her to her father.
Alone in the dark on the Texas prairie, Fiona's terrifying experience with a circus elephant, Bolivar, sets the stage for a future she could never have imagined.
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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite Elephant Dreams by Martha Deeringer tells the story of Fiona Finn who, as a sixteen-year-old, finds herself homeless and trying to survive on the streets of New York City. After she is attacked, she realises that she has to do something to make a better life for herself. Her father is homeless and a drunkard, and her young brother is missing. Life is quickly spiralling out of control. Having made that conscious decision to get away from the life that was threatening to overwhelm her, she almost has a promise of a future, but then her past catches up and she runs away, only to be discovered in her hiding place by Bolivar, an elephant. Fiona finds herself in the world of the circus and astonishes herself with abilities she had no idea she possessed. She hardly dares to admit to happiness, until her hapless father’s determination to find her for his own ends leads to her almost losing everything she holds dear. What a story! With scenes to be likened to any Charles Dickens novel, the author, Martha Deeringer, carries the reader on a breathtaking journey through despair and hope that changes as often as the wind changes direction. Great characters, a believable story, an insight into another world, and an empathy for a character that a reader would have to have a heart of stone not to sympathise with. Although billed as a young adult story, this will readily appeal to an adult reader. Very visual writing and the makings of a classic.