Spangles, Elephants, Violets & Me is a moving and revealing journey back to the playground of Victoria Cristiani Rossi’s youth. It is, quite simply, one thought-provoking train ride—one that involves fairy tales, nightmares and miracles. Victoria describes the tempestuous world of her Internationally Famous Cristiani Riding Act family (former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey superstars), her life-altering convent experiences, starting at age six, and her near-fatal accident under the big top in Los Angeles. There are fascinating glimpses of Emmett Kelly, Karl Wallenda, Hugo Zacchini and disgraced 1950's quiz-show contestant Charles Van Doren.
Spangles, Elephants, Violets & Me is also a story of the American dream, the confluence of wealth and fame, the strength and frailty of family, social and economic ambition, misplaced trust, conflict, loss and redemption. Victoria’s gift for writing is most evident as she builds dramatic contrast between days spent happily on the circus lot, and haunting nights spent away from it.
Employing her authentic voice and role in circus history, Victoria honors an institution often caught publicly and unfortunately between its defenders and detractors, a situation that can preempt enjoyment of its true reason for being, or appreciation of the circus industry’s numerous contributions to American culture.