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Water for Elephants

I've been reading more lately. My dearest, too-generous husband got me a Nook Color for my birthday, and it's hard to express how much I've enjoyed it already. It fits perfectly into my life. It's wonderful to be able to go to bed when he does, knowing that he can switch off the light and begin snoozing while I finish my chapter.

I posted my review of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants over on Goodreads, but I'm duplicating it here for posterity.

Pros: Reveals entertaining and often surprising details about Depression-era circus culture; animals being treated as integral parts of the plot provides a certain warmth.

Cons: Characters other than the protagonist are mostly two-dimensional; some may find the ending implausible.

I still miss HBO's Carnivale, so it was nice to return to 1930s circus life for a little while. Unfortunately, I didn't find most of the characters in Water for Elephants to be quite as engaging as the show's ensemble.

I felt sympathy for young Jacob's misfortune, and compassion for old Jacob's situation: I cared about him, and about Rosie and Walter, too. It's Marlena, August, and Uncle Al who seemed to exist primarily as plot devices, rather than as fully-realized people.

I was also disappointed by the way a character's exit was handled. I won't spoil by naming names, but he departs the story, and Jacob hardly seems to notice. Our narrator's reaction seemed less than credible, in my opinion.

Overall, it's a light read that I enjoyed more for the snippets of history about the time period than the story itself.

Grade: B- (3 out of 5 stars)

View all my reviews


I kinda sorta want to see the movie, if only for Christoph Waltz's performance. Maybe an early matinee? Not this weekend, though. I'm in the midst of my most crushing deadlines of the year.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 20th, 2012 08:32 am (UTC)
I too miss Carnivale. And I second your review of Gruen's novel (still haven't checked for the movie though) which is ok for a fix of that atmosphere.

Also, (long chain of association I won't bore you with but) the previous entry re; WOW - has anyone actually written in depth on the sort of transitioning issues your entry throws up?
They strike me as very similar to those on fandom web-sites when a series finishes (especially where the community has been intense and creatively productive say firefly or veronica mars) or when there is some other sort of shift (e.g. lj to dw) - which is something that has long interested me.
Now, sure, fandoms have been covered (usually via parody) and events such as comic-con are known well outside of the target audience. Felicia Day has done wonders for WOW - but still, ok, so, yes, real in some ways but again with the funny.
Maybe you could write that (i.e. a book)???

Edited at 2012-06-20 08:34 am (UTC)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

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