Janina's Reviews > Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
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Jun 06, 11

bookshelves: historic-fiction, read-in-2011, given-away, let-me-down, male-pov, romance, adult-fiction
Read from June 03 to 06, 2011

Sadly, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I really enjoyed it at the beginning, and the writing definitely had a great flow. Also, the overall atmosphere of the 1920s, the circus, the animals in the menagerie, the rivalry between workers and performers were exceptionally well done.

Unfortunately, though, the main aspect of the book - the romance - fell completely flat for me. Marlena was such a flat character and I couldn't bring up any sympathy for her or her sitution. The chemistry between her and Jacob was almost non-exsistent. I had expected a forbidden romance, founded on a special connection, conversations, a friendship turning into love. Instead, it was more the love at first sight, oh-my-god-she's-so-beautiful-I-love-her type of relationship. They hardly spend any time alone together before their first kiss, and I don't remember any significant conversations between them. Mostly, Jacob was only talking to Marlena's crazy husband, August, and she was sitting next to them.

Additionally, the switches between the 1920s circus setting and the present day nursery home setting were a little tiresome. I didn't find 90-year old Jacob particularly interesting, and was mostly bored by the passages featuring him - although they did add to the story. The ending was a bit too Hollywood for me; it definitely was sweet, but also a tad too unrealistic.

Something that actually doesn't have anything to do with the book, but partly killed it for me: After being bombarded with millions of movie poster, trailers, ... everywhere, I couldn't help imagining Jacob looking (and acting) like Robert Pattinson - or, in this case, like Edward, because that's the only role I know him in. And, sorry, but this doesn't count as a pleasant experience for me.
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Reading Progress

06/04/2011 page 104
31.0% 6 comments
06/05/2011 page 291
87.0% "I'm finding the love story very unconvincing. Marlena is such a flat character. Also ... can't help imagining Jacob as Robert Pattinson. Ugh. Damn you movie posters ..." 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Pia (new)

Pia If you don't keep Water for Elephants, Beetween shades of grey and Eyes like stars, will you call in? :) When you find something in my to-read shelf, it would be nice, if you reserve them for me :)


Janina Hey, sorry, totally missed your comment. I will be keeping Shades of Gray, but I'll get back to you about the other ones. Although I just saw that Teccc has this on his wishlist, and I still owe him some books, so I'd have to see if he wants it first ;).


Lora Happy reading, Janina! I loved this^^


Janina Thanks! It has a great flow. I've already read 100 pages without really noticing it was 100 pages ... ;)


Miss Bookiverse I don't much like Stories that are told by old People either. I just watched the Movie a few days ago and really liked it, guess i can skip the Book though ;)


Nomes oooh ~ we felt the same way :D

i was bored with the nursing home stuff too (and felt ashamed for it, LOL)

and i also thought the romance was... weird. he just LOVED her. she was beautiful and... ? she had no personality :/

LOL @ all Marlena did was sit next to the men.


message 7: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber Great review! I guess the movie is good enough for me. May skip the book.


message 8: by Janina (last edited Jun 09, 2011 02:43AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Janina Thanks you, Amber!

Yeah, I guess if you've already seen the movie, reading the book is kind of pointless. I always try to read the book first if possible. But then ... I rarely watch movie adaptions of books I've read anyways. They tend to infuriate me ;).

And Nomes ... I read your review just after posting mine and though: well, I could have simply written "what Nomes said" because I thought exactly the same about it.


message 9: by Milly (new)

Milly Awesome review Janina! I haven't seen the movie but it sounds like I'm not missing much if I just stuck with the movie and not bothering reading the book. Didn't know it was the POV from an elderly man. Hmmm...Rob old and wrinkly? Very interesting...


Janina Thank you, Milly!

It's only partly the old Jacob's point of view. The main storyline certainly is the circus one.
Lol at old and wrinkly Rob ... maybe I should have a quick look at the movie only to see that? ;) Although they probably have another actor for those scenes ...


message 11: by Milly (new)

Milly Janina wrote: "Thank you, Milly!

It's only partly the old Jacob's point of view. The main storyline certainly is the circus one.
Lol at old and wrinkly Rob ... maybe I should have a quick look at the movie only ..."


we should ask Tina! I'm sure she's seen it. And she wouldn't mind an old Rob either!


Janina Ah, I just asked Google - Google knows everything ;) - and it is not Rob ... :( I was already looking forward to having a good laugh. Apparently, it's this guy.


message 13: by Milly (new)

Milly Janina wrote: "Ah, I just asked Google - Google knows everything ;) - and it is not Rob ... :( I was already looking forward to having a good laugh. Apparently, it's this guy."

Hahaha! Thanks Janina! Definitely not Rob! Booo!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Thankfully, someone else finds Marlena personality flat! I'm reading this one right now and cannot understand why Jacob would even like her (besides the lust factor).


Janina Yes, it really was a huge disappointment for me. From the summary and other reviews I read, I expected her to be a very powerful and strong woman, but nothing of this personality really came through. She remained so pale!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Janina wrote: "Yes, it really was a huge disappointment for me. From the summary and other reviews I read, I expected her to be a very powerful and strong woman, but nothing of this personality really came throug..."

I still like the animals in the story and the other minor characters but other than that, I cannot stand Marlena.


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