Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Final Confession of Mabel Stark - One Of My Favourite Books

Hey Everyone,

This is something a little different and non beauty related, but something I wanted to share! I came across this book in a second hand store and bought it for 50p. I have just finished reading "The Final Confession of Mabel Stark" by Robert Hough; and I have to say I enjoyed this book more than any I've ever read. 

Mabel Stark was a world famous Tiger trainer with various circuses in the 1920's, including probably the most famous circus in the world, The Ringling Brothers. Now this is probably the main reason I loved this book, given my love of Tigers (you'll know what I mean if you've seen my "about me" page!). But whether or not you love Tigers the story of this book is truely amazing. I should say that Mabel Stark's story is a remarkable one anyway, however a lot of points in the book are fictionalized, to fill in the parts un-recorded in history (bare in mind she was born over 100 years ago). Even though I believe there was controversy over these inaccuracies, I can't say it changes my love for the book. It's just such an amazing story, the parts involving the Tigers, and the parts involving her personal life (a hint-she married five times). It's written by Hough but using I guess the voice of Mabel - her story, how Hough imagined she would have told it. 

The book includes everything from mental institutions to marrying a millionaire to life a circus trooper. I won't give away any details in case any of you do want to go out and buy this book; but when I finished the book I cried.....actually cried! This is something I have never in my adult life done over a book. Not only did I cry, I put the book down, went to bed, continued to think about this amazing lady ....and cried some more! (Before realising how ridiculous I was being and getting some sleep.)

The bottom line being that's how into the book and the story of Mabel I got. I suppose her love of her Tigers being something I feel I could relate to. (Though perhaps not to the extent explained in parts of the book - if you read it, you will understand!) It's totally and utterly enthralling, so I would definitely recommend it! I'm going to finish with some pictures of the lady herself, followed by a few disclaimer points at the bottom!

Hope you enjoyed this post :)
Karen xx

Mabel - Once the most famed circus performer in the world

Mabel training some of her Tigers

An older Mabel who moved to a zoo in her later days and continued to train Tigers

Disclaimer Points!
1)  I do not agree with animals in the circus, this book is set almost 100 years ago, knowledge and attitude was a lot different back then; though I didn't enjoy reading about the techniques they used to use, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book.

2) I do not believe dangerous animals like Tigers should ever be in contact with human's like they are in the above pictures. Only the other day a keeper in the U.S had her arm ripped off when she tried to stroke a Tiger. As I've already said times were different back then.

3) I do believe that animals in captivity (for conservation purposes) are important, though not to be used for entertainment as they are in circuses. For example the Ringling Circus still runs a Tiger show; I believe 100% that this is wrong. However I do believe some level of animal training is important and a form enrichment for animals in captivity. Something proven correct by research recently conducted by a friend of mine who showed the benefits of positive reinforcement training for Tigers in captivity. 

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