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.