Juli's Reviews > Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
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's review
May 25, 2008

liked it

** spoiler alert ** I had really high expectations for this book based on its popularity and a few reviews I'd read. It's concept is in fact intriguing but unfortunately, Gruen's execution of that concept is lackluster. I found most of the characters to be very one-dimensional, the plot to be too predictable (****spoiler alert! Like the elephant who only happens to understand Polish, a language that Jacob happens to speak...so of course, he can save the day, like Marlena, the epitome of the damsel in distress who's saved from an abusive relationship by our hero....and in terms of love stories, I wasn't at all compelled by the love story of Jacob and Marlena, and then Jacob rejoining the circus at the age of 93 - come on, really!??). I found the intermittent chapters of the older, crotchety Jacob in the nursing home to be strained and completely underdeveloped. Finally, if the overstated colored language and sexual content is what one reviewer is describing by "gritty and sensual", I'd agree that it's certainly gritty but in a base way. In my opinion, the novel could be wonderfully, richly gritty and sensual if Gruen had more masterfully excecuted the concept at hand and better developed her characters; instead, she fell flat all the way around.

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