Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Synopsis: In the summer of 1931, Jacob Jankowski runs away with the circus. That's all I'm giving you.
Readability: Not hard...as in challenging. There were a few scenes that were difficult to stomach. This one is pretty gritty, folks.
Predictability: I didn't know. I didn't know. I just didn't know what was around every corner. You know I love that. This subject was so unfamiliar to me that I honestly didn't know what was coming next. There were some major surprises for me in this story. That being said, the ending was FANTASTIC.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: Bah. I have been angonizing over how to answer this question. Here's the thing: while I was reading, I was completely captivated and didn't want to stop reading. When I did stop reading and thought about the book, I thought, "This is so dumb! Why am I reading this?!" I struggled with this dilemma through 300 pages.
Recommend it?: Um. I honestly don't know whether or not to recommend this. It's a very satisfying and enthralling read, but it is awfully gritty. There is quite a bit of sexiness, animal stuff that's hard to read, and a fair amount of language. This may bother some of my more fair-hearted readers. That being said, I think I enjoyed this one. I'm pretty sure. I really, really liked the ending. The ending made made it all worth while. So...if you're reading it and you're thinking, "Why did I get into this? What was I thinking?" Just remember what I said: the ending makes it all worth while. Though I can't honestly say, "The ending makes you feel like everything is right with the world." I'm so conflicted. I will say, however, that sometimes there are books that I say, "Why did the author do this or that? I would have done it this or that way." I never once thought that while reading this novel.
Three out of five stars. Very well written, interesting, and a good ending. I'm so conflicted.

6 comments:

carole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carole said...

Let's try again...

Last year some girls in our family had an online book club. This was one of the books we read (along with Middlemarch, Memory Keeper's Daughter and some physics book about string theory which Paul had to help us with!) Just when we finished the book, the Barnum & Baily circus came to town. We live very near the arena where the greatest show on earth would be unfolding... As I was driving home one day, I turned the corner and there were the elephants, right by the street, walking around and around in a (very small) circle, being led by the trainer. It was a surreal experience after having just read the book. I stopped and watched them for a while and thought about the book. I also checked out all the people who were setting up and thought about circus life.

I thought the book was very good. It caused me think about lots of things, but mostly about how hard it must be to be old. I came to see it as the same being young - communicating your needs or desires and not having them seen as 'legitimate' must be frustrating. People around do what they think is best from their perspective but it is not all what you want and no matter how much you try to communicate who you are and what you need, you are really at the mercy of those around you...

I would recommend the book too, though I would give it 4/5. I also will say I did not see the ending coming... and apparently neither did he.

angie said...

i had so much fun with this book! i read it the summer i was pregnant with quinn and remember thinking how it would be one of the last novels i could really devour in a short time. i think i read it in three days. pretty sure i haven't finished another book in under three months since. ha
i totally agree with you about the ending. LOVE IT.

Kara Jo said...

I love your book reviews, Erin. I like how you say it made you feel like everything was right in the world. I've realized I don't like any book unless it makes me feel that way. Shallow?

carole said...

I didn't know they were making a movie (don't you think I would learn by now that every book that is remotely good gets made into a movie.) Saw a trailer this morning... starring Reese Witherspoon and Robin Pattinson. Opens April 22.

Kandi said...

Well, Erinski, I finally finished the book yesterday. It took me WAY longer than it should have, what with packing, moving, unpacking, and Tim Hawkins getting in my way.

In fact, that would be the one thing I would say to someone who was about to start it: "Read it through. Now. Don't skim through it, but get.it.done." When I read the ending, I actually had to go back to the beginning to re-read the opening, because I knew that something didn't jive...I just didn't remember what it was.

Overall, great story. I hated the descriptive language as much as I loved it (the animal cruelty stuff didn't sit well with me, but man, what a storyteller). I would definitely recommend it.

Still trying to decide if I want to see the movie.