Monday, April 27, 2009

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (book group)

On Saturday afternoon, I found out that our book group was on Sunday, so I spent all Sunday breezing through the pick of the month: Water for Elephants. It's not a book I would have picked up for my own reading, in spite of so many reviews. I didn't want to read about the abuses of circus life, of which I knew there were many.

I'm happy to report that it wasn't hard to read in one day. It's not a book I'm highly recommending, though I'm certainly not discouraging anyone from reading it either. There are characters you want to sock, characters you want to shake, characters you want to hug--characters you're glad to see get what they had coming to them and characters whose fates are really hard to swallow. If we had any problems with any of the characters, it would be that Marlena fell a little flat; she remained an idealized woman throughout, and even though she was a hard worker and a tough cookie, we would have liked more dimension to her.

The setting was thoroughly researched and well-written, and even if the ending was too far-fetched for me, Gruen's novel deserves its praises.

7 comments:

Lezlie said...

But can someone who's really touchy about animals read this without sobbing through the whole thing? That is my fear. :-)

Lezlie

Meghan said...

I liked this - I tried mostly not to think about all the abuses that were going on. I do agree that the characters weren't particularly well fleshed out except for the main character, though.

Holly said...

I really enjoyed this one.

Cheryl said...

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http://unadorned-book.blogspot.com/2009/04/bloggy-love.html

Zibilee said...

I have this book on my shelf, but haven't read it yet. I also was worried that all the circus abuses would make me upset, but the story sounds curiously intriguing. Thanks for the honest review, I am looking forward to the character creation in this one now.

Serena said...

sounds like a good book, but the abuse of animals may be too tough to take.

Jeane said...

I wasn't crazy about it either, but I did like the details about life in the circus. The historical aspects were interesting to me.