Book Review: Water for Elephants

Y’all seriously, I don’t know where time comes from or where it goes. On the one hand, I have no idea how I’ve gotten done the things I’ve gotten done this week, and on the other hand, I feel like I didn’t have a moment to spare until yesterday evening. I am thankful for both hands, though, because I like being productive, and I like a week that goes by quickly in a good way like this one did.

I stayed up way too late every night reading Water for Elephants, which I finished on…Wednesday? Geez, I have no idea. Anyway, I finished it, and let me just tell you, it is good. It has a few racy parts and a lot of cussing, so if you’re not comfortable with either of those, I might not recommend it to you, but if you don’t think you’ll be bothered by them, the story is just really great. It’s told well, it’s interesting, it’s engaging, and the ending, I thought, was perfect. It doesn’t give you the feeling that the author is intentionally trying to keep you guessing, but it also doesn’t reveal everything up front. The timing is just right.

It’s also really interesting to read about the circus in the 1930s. I don’t know how accurate a portrayal it is, but it does seem that the author did a lot of research on it, and a lot of the characters and events were based on true stories from the time, which is neat.

I had a little bit of trouble keeping the minor characters straight. A lot of times it felt like when you’re talking to a friend who’s talking about his/her co-workers, but instead of explaining who they all are every time they’re mentioned, your friend just uses their names as though you know them, and you piece it together. In the end, it doesn’t really matter most of the time whether you know exactly who’s who or not. That’s why they were minor characters.

Anyhoe, the story is about a kid named Jacob, who is in his last semester of veterinary school at Cornell when his parents are killed in a car crash. In his despair, he sort of accidentally winds up on a circus train, where he pretty quickly becomes the show’s vet even though he didn’t finish his final exams. I won’t give anything else away, but from there, you get love, betrayal, murder, schizophrenia, friendship, loyalty, lots of animals, and an old man who can never remember if he’s 90 or 93 years old.

Read it before the movie comes out (in April, I think) because I’m not convinced it’s going to be good. I’ll see it, no doubt, but I’m really just not sure about the casting. I’m excited to see Christoph Waltz in something new because he was so incredibly amazing in Inglourious Basterds, but I’m not crazy about Robert Pattinson or Reese Witherspoon in their roles. I pictured Jacob more, I don’t know, alert-looking and less brooding – more wide-eyed and innocent. And I thought Marlena was closer to his age (Pattinson and Witherspoon are 10 years apart in real life).

If given the choice, I think I’d put Rachel McAdams in the role of Marlena and maybe Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Jacob. But we’ll see.

Oh! And it seems that the film has done away with Uncle Al entirely and maybe merged him and August into one character? I don’t know, but I do not care for that at all.

Oh well. Like I said, we’ll see. But back to the book.

I’m giving Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen four out of five stars. If I could give it another half, I might (because I think I liked it better than The Help), but I don’t have the ability to type half a star, so four it is. Once again, I wouldn’t say it’s my new favorite book, but I thought it was beautifully and fearlessly written, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. ****

Author: beth

I'm told that I'm cleverly stupid, and that's why people are friends with me. And here I thought it was because I was so dang cute...

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