Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
By:  Sara Gruen
ISBN:  9781565125605
Available Format:  Hardcover, Paperback, ebook, Audiobook

My Rating: ★★★★★


Let me begin by saying that I added this to my "to-read" list because I like to read books before I watch the movie versions, and I have definitely been anticipating the release of this movie. I do wish that I had heard of it before the film. I feel like the picture of the characters in the film interfered with my imagination. I really like to picture the characters in my own way, especially when they don't match the description in the book.

Aside from that, I was concerned beginning this book. It got a lot of mixed reviews--it seemed most people either loved it or hated it, and I did not want to be one who wasted their time digging through it (because I am just not one to quit in the middle!). Thankfully, I was not disappointed. 

Gruen did a wonderful job transitioning between Jacob's present and past. The descriptions were vivid and believable. I fell in love with old Jacob. His life in the nursing home brought a lot of depressing thoughts and memories to mind, but I appreciated the dimension Gruen added by including his daily life there. I also fell in love with Jacob from the past. My heart broke when he was taken from that Cornell classroom, and I fidgeted anxiously when he jumped that train. I hated August right along with him. I was horrified when Walter and Camel were red lighted over the trestle. And I was so relieved to find out the outcome of his and Marlena's relationship. 

Had I written the story, would I have been kind enough to send them off happily ever after? Probably. But it would have been even more interesting if they had ended up with different people...or succumbed to some other tragedy. It was, however, a story book ending. The little twist at the end with Jacob and the small circus was wonderful. 

Definitely worth my time...