Charlaralotte's Reviews > Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
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's review
Aug 29, 2008

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bookshelves: read-in-2008
Read in August, 2008

3.5 stars

I can't stand to read anything where animals are mistreated, so this was a hard book to get through. Still, I devoured it in less than 24 hours.

I wouldn't call it great literature, but it's a good read & manages to throw in enough history & interesting tidbits about circus life to make the story feel substantially grounded in a particular time & place.

Jacob is a well drawn protagonist. Vulnerable yet brash, ethical yet naive, intelligent yet foolhardy. The flash forwards worked well, though at times hit the nail too hard on the head.

Will make an excellent movie, as long as they don't cast Kevin Costner as the lead.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Ben (new)

Ben Loory i will go to see this movie-- or any movie, really-- if kevin costner plays an elephant.

Charlaralotte SSHHH! Don't say that! You know they're listening. Right now they're forming a focus group to see if people would be interested in seeing Kevin Costner play an elephant. Soon a browbeaten screenwriter will be called in and commanded to come up with an outline for the movie.

And then the browbeaten screenwriter will wrack his/her brain for 3 three years of his/her life, trying to please the focus group, 5 producers, 10 directors, and Kevin Costner. At the end of the 3 years, they'll hire someone else to write it. 15 years and 7 screenwriters later, this pathetic movie where Kevin Costner turns into an elephant and helps conquer the Romans by going over the Alps will make $978 million dollars in the opening weekend.

Charlaralotte I am having second thoughts about my review. No 3.5 stars anymore. Just almost 3.

There are severe problems with the female love interest, Marlena. We're never given much reason to like her, except that we all like the women who dress in spangle costumes and perform in circuses. They're great fantasies, and this book relies on our collective fascination with lithe creatures flying through the air in daring feats under the big top. And of course she's married to a psycho, which tends to arouse sympathy.

Perhaps it's a bit too melodramatic a tale. Nevertheless, I did fall in love with the lead, Jacob, and I think I'd know him if I saw him on the street.

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