KP Book Review: A Peep Behind the Scenes

Many today are unfamiliar with both Mrs. O. F. Walton and her work A Peep Behind the Scenes, which was originally published in 1877. Although it may not be considered a literary classic nowadays, it still is a remarkable story. By the end of the 1800s, A Peep Behind the Scenes outsold Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter by two million copies.A_Peep_Behind_the_Scenes

Walton’s story takes you “behind the scenes” of what seems to be the glittering life of the traveling carnival. The story focuses on a little girl named Rosalie. While she struggles with the life of the fair, dealing with her harsh father, and trying to care for her sick mother, Rosalie’s story is not unlike a typical Charles Dickens novel. However, A Peep Behind the Scenes contains a sweetness not commonly found in Dickens’ novels. When a gentleman visiting the carnival gives little Rosalie a picture depicting a lost sheep, the child learns of The Good Shepherd and that she is like that lost lamb needing a Savior.

As Rosalie’s story continues, she meets a host of memorable characters, including the kind and noble-hearted Toby, the spunky but lonely Betsey Ann, and the marvelous Mother Manikin. Walton’s writing style alone is enough to make this a great read, but it is the characters who captivate you.

Though written for children, teens and adults alike can enjoy A Peep Behind the Scenes and learn from the story of Rosalie. Though written in the late 1800s, Walton’s story remains applicable to today’s readers. The story shows sadness and hurting hearts hidden behind the glimmering curtain of show business. “[Rosalie] had learned that aching hearts are often hidden behind the world’s smiling faces. She had learned that there is no real, no true, no lasting joy in anything of this world.” (Page 255) Without the Good Shepherd leading us, nothing can provide the joy and love our hearts yearn for.

A Peep Behind the Scenes teaches and encourages readers. If you are the sort of person who tends to cry at books and movies, I do not doubt that this story will evoke a tear or two. Filled with bittersweet moments and thoughtful dialogue and written with a childlike simplicity, it is a shame that A Peep Behind the Scenes was never placed on the list of literary classics. However, I am sure Mrs. O. F. Walton would be pleased to know that her story is still impacting lives today as each reader falls in love with little Rosalie in A Peep Behind the Scenes.

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Christine Eaton is an 18-year-old, high school senior, who loves stories and hopes to someday publish a great novel. She lives in Southern California with her parents and her younger brother. She loves the ability to wear flip-flops in December and spend time with her friends at Disneyland. Besides writing, she loves drama, painting, and reading. Broadway musicals can usually be heard blasting through her bedroom. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson.
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Comments

  1. Ooh, I listened to an audiodrama of this one! I liked it okay; a bit slow in places and Rosalie seemed a little flat, but maybe I should read the book. Excellent review Christi— thanks! 🙂

  2. *Waits to hear the crash of Sarah’s stack of books toppling over (which will undoubtedly also scatter confetti everywhere)* 😛

  3. I love this book! Thank you for reviewing it!

  4. Becky Chambers says:

    Wonderful review!! This book sounds so interesting. I really want to read it!…we both know that means the tears will be extracted XD Great job girl!

  5. I love “A Peep Behind the Scenes.” My mom read it aloud to our family several years ago–such a gem with simple yet rich truth. I enjoyed your review. 😀

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