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The Pilo Family Circus Paperback – March 24, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Underland Press (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980226023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980226027
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Perhaps they were more plot devices than characters.
Kindle Customer
Also, different parts of the book seemed to capture a certain mood of the author which altered the writing style every so often.
Tracy Vanity
It's been about a month since I finished this book and I still think about it all the time.
A. Koch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On his way home from work late one night, Jamie almost runs over a strange man in a clown suit. The very next night his car breaks down and he's pushing it off the road, he sees the same clown on the roof of a gardening store across the parking lot, a second clown trying to coax him down. One of the clowns tosses a bag near where Jamie is hiding, and he absentmindedly picks it up. He'll soon discover his mistake. Living in house with junkies for roommates, he sprinkles some of the powder in the milk his roommate Steve has been stealing from him. He also tries some himself, thinking it could be drugs.

Next, he comes home to a house completely and utterly trashed, nothing left unbroken and feces smeared everywhere. There's a note for Jamie, "Pass your audition, feller, you're joining the circus". Dreading the countdown, Jamie finally does something outrageous and finds himself awakening in the Pilo Family Circus. He's given a clown outfit, a bag of the powder, and facepaint. Now partners with leader Gonko, wordless but shrieking Goshy and his brother Doopy, Rufshod, and Winston. After putting on his facepaint, Jamie becomes JJ the clown, outrageous, mean, and out of control. There's something in the facepaint that changes him. You'll meet the members of the freak show ran by Fishboy, and created by MM (Master Manipulator) who turns normal humans into hideous freaks like Tallow Man and Nugget. The clowns pretty much have free run of the circus, only the acrobats dare to challenge them.

Kurt Pilo, a giant of a man, religious and strange, runs the circus with his dwarfish brother George. There's something very strange about Kurt, you'll be put on edge just reading about him. Clowns are scary enough, but after Pilo's Family Circus you'll be terrified of them.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tim on June 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Here's a book sure to grab your attention: grab it, shake it, chew on it and spit it out! The Pilo Family Circus is one part comedy and one part comic book violence.

Comparisons with "It" and other evil clowns are a little misplaced. The clowns are a rough and ready bunch to be sure: lead by the scheming, sadistic Gonko, the masochistic Rufshod, the creepy space-cadet Goshy and his puppy-dog psychopath brother Doopy as well as the mysterious Winston, the clowns draw the protagonist Jamie into the Pilo Family Circus when he accidentally comes to their attention. But the clown troupe is not the real evil of the Circus, no sir. That would be Kurt Pilo, the bestial proprietor who snacks on teeth and his Napoleonic brother George. Even these two serve shadowy masters who reside... elsewhere.

In between the clowns' struggles to win Kurt's favour and sabotage other acts of the Circus (their running battle with the camp-but-deadly acrobats is hilarious) we witness Jamie's struggle with his alter-ego J.J., who emerges when Jamie is forced to don his magical face paint. This battle of wills can only have one winner - and one dead loser.

The action is fast paced, the dialogue is witty, salty and colours the characters very nicely. Subsequent readings of this book have revealed deeper allegorical elements to this story, for example the Jamie/J.J. struggle could be a metaphor for someone's struggle with addiction or schizophrenia. The circus itself may be a comment on our need for and addiction to distraction and entertainment, even as our souls are sucked our of our bodies.

In all this was a cracking read and I would recommend not reading it on the train or bus, as there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. For fans of The Young Ones and H.P. Lovecraft alike, enjoy this fine debut.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BarkLessWagMore (Horror After Dark Crew Member) on December 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jamie is minding his own business when he spots some creepy clowns about town acting more than a wee bit strange. One drops a small bag containing some suspicious powder. When the coast is clear, Jamie picks it up and brings it home.

Well, wouldn't you?!

This little incident of finders keepers brings the clown smack down upon Jamie and his roomie after the two accidentally ingest some of the clown powder. And there's nothing funny about it. These clowns aren't the happy go lucky, nose-honking types and they do some unimaginable gross-nasty things to Jamie's abode. It's pretty scary what they accomplish in a short span of time and from there on out Jamie's life gets seriously messed up. Jamie finds this note tucked into the mouth of a dead bat:

"Sleep tight? Thirty hours to pass your audition. Make us laugh, feller. That's the assignment. We don't care how. We don't care who gets hurt or killed. Make with the chuckles, you pass . . .

Gonko, on behalf of the Pilo Family Circus"

Creepy, no?

Jamie, likely out of fear, does something so oddly funny that the demented clown leader actually laughs. He has passed the "audition" and is now a reluctant apprentice in The Pilo Family Circus. Jamie has no say so in the matter. The clowns are intimidating, persuasive and violently unpredictable. Jamie plays along, foolishly thinking he will make a quick exit from this nightmare as soon as he can. That doesn't happen. Once the clown paint is slathered upon his face he becomes a new person and JJ the Clown takes over his body. JJ is unpredictable, mean just for kicks and refuses to follow the rules. He's also a big cry baby which I have to say began to grate on my last nerve after a while.
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