Laurie's Reviews > Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
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's review
Oct 06, 2008

really liked it
Read in December, 2008

on reflection i think this book was more of a one-trick pony. But I will let the review i wrote in the post-coital warmth of the author's embrace remain..


What a fun book to read! THere was so much wonderful action and exciting period details, life on a travelling circus show was nothing if not adventurous. This book also moves between time periods, and I think Gruen does a superb job of navigating those transitions from present to past and back again very seemlessly.
The narrator is pleasing, but I do think that Marlena (his love interest) and the others in the circus, are not fully realized characters, but rather they fit some easy stereotypes -- the beautiful perfomer saddled with a sadistic husband, the crazy circus guy who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, the grumpy dwarf, the brutal ringmaster, etc.
I realized about 2/3 in that the opening scene had something wrong in the way it was constructed -- and that turns out to be the 'nut' of the story, so to speak, which is a plot element I didn't care for. But the final chapter was so great, I won't even say whether or not it made me happy or sad, only that it gave me chills, and the book is worth reading to the end for that reason.

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