Running Away from the Circus: Confessions of a Carnie Kid
From homemade dollar bills to babies falling from the top of circus tents, from religious boot camps to a fight with God Himself, Running Away from the Circus is a coming-of-age memoir as vibrant as its historical backdrop: 1960’s San Francisco.
When a boy from a circus family thinks he hears God calling, he embarks on a delicate balance—tenuous as any high wire act— a “carnie kid” set on becoming a Catholic priest. While his summers working on a carnival offer reprieve from the rigid dictums of the Catholic seminary, the years of his adolescence are unrelenting, as society, the Church, and even God Himself change dramatically. Along the way, his unshakable childhood faith gives way to a more skeptical adult eye as he must ultimately face that “elephant in the room”: the Catholic Church’s insistence on mandatory celibacy for its clerics.
At once the story of one boy’s youth amidst the turbulent 1960’s and an exotic glimpse into circus life, this striking memoir reminds us always to question how much of life is assumed, and how much is choice—or, at least, a calculated risk. And, in the end, it’s also a love story.
I LOVED this book! First of all, the subject matter is so different; from Nove’s life in the circus to his study in the seminary to the conflict between these different callings.
Anne Boone Johnson Professor
International Education Univ. of W. Florida
If only I could write like this! Hilarious and insightful at every turn, this book exhilarates like a good roller coaster ride and deep dives into life lessons that resonate long afterward. Whatever you’d thought about life (whether “normal” or unique), think again. This book upends every expectation—and leaves you grinning all the wider for it by the end.
Dr. Susan V. Meyers Director of Seattle University’s Creative Writing Program
I’ll start by saying how much I enjoyed reading Nove’s “life story.” He writes well and with a real sense of humor, so it’s quite hard not to enjoy the book.
Dr. Joseph Sheley
President Emeritus California State University, Stanislaus
Author of Preordained
I just finished reading and HIGHLY enjoyed Running Away from the Circus! At times while reading I would laugh out loud and my wife would say, "What is so funny?" so I would explain what had made me laugh so hard.
St. Pius X Seminary
I’ve known Nove since he was a little kid when I worked on his uncle’s circus. His circus and carnival material captures the times authentically and presents a much-needed, positive perspective on Circus and Carnival folk.
Chester Cable, “The Man with the Educated Feet” Co-owner, LA Circus Guinness World Record holder.
From the opening pages:
My grandmother could fly. Every night she flew from one slim trapeze bar to the other, twisting, somersaulting, gracefully floating through the air as though gravity itself had been suspended. Thirty feet above the sawdust-covered circus ring she flew—no net.
Samples & Awards
2021 Finalist, Best Historical Fiction Manuscript, Agents and Editors Conference, Texas League of Writers
2020 Grand Prize Winner, San Francisco Writing Conference, San Francisco Writers Conference
2019 Honorable Mention, Prose Writing Contest, Santa Barbara Writers Conference
About Nove Meyers
Nove Meyers is a fourth-generation member of a family of circus owners. After smoking his last cigarette at the age of three, he followed the rest of family tradition by going into the food concession business and eventually owned a sizeable contract food service business. But before that, he spent eight years studying for the priesthood and another twenty working for the Catholic church. Recently retired, he is devoting his time to writing. He and his wife Barbara divide their time between the Pacific Northwest and Tucson, Arizona. This is his first book.
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