Sunday, August 26, 2012

Water for Elephant(s)?

As usual, I'm going to go ahead and throw out my typical book review disclaimer...I'm spoiler alerting you!  I have quite a few thoughts about this read that could potentially ruin the story for someone who has intentions of reading the book but hasn't yet.

But let me just preface this post by saying, I really did like this book.  The author does a really beautiful job with her descriptions, but almost to the point of it taking away from where the storyline is going sometimes.  I love vivid pictures, especially when we're talking about a circus and animals, but I also find myself getting frustrated with a book thats plot is hard to follow at times because we're going into so much descriptive detail (get on with the story already!).

Now I don't usually get hung up on book titles because most of the time it's fitting and make perfect sense...but "Water for Elephants" threw me off a bit.  First of all, there was only one elephant in the story and second, the watering of the elephant didn't really have much to do with Marlena or Jacob.  I'm not saying I could have picked a better title and I DO like elephants, but I'm just not sold on this being the best preface to what this book opens up.

It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Jacob was smitten with Marlena and he was going to fall in love with her.  I just felt like sometimes the occassional, random scenes where the author was trying to get hot steamy because Jacob was on the prowl for loving...was a little awkward at times.  Like when he was in the tent with all the dudes watching the stripper dancer who was FLOPPING her knockers up and down at ultra rapid speeds...WHAT?!...come on dudes...THAT WAS NOT SEXY! That was weird.  I'm just picturing this gross circus lady with melons so huge they're knocking people over...Maybe I was just "over sexed" by Fifty Shades of Crap so I wasn't that interested in those parts of the story because I didn't want to go THERE again...

I did enjoy the setting of the book.  I also appreciated the historical and factual accuracy of the tales being placed in an era of Prohibition/Depression.  That aspect of the book was highly engaging and entertaining for me.  But I'm intrigued by that kind of stuff.

NOT a fan of the Marlena/August drama.  I get annoyed the nice, normal, attractive and talented woman is stuck with the sloppy, drunk, bi-polar, controlling psycho who I also imagine has one of those Circus-Master beer bellies...He has nothing going for him and he gets the girl that the other dudes want.  Why does it always work out that way?  And can I say the scene (or chapter I should say) where August dies is really blurry.  It's like "Rosie picks up a stake and strikes August and he falls down..." Ok, I guess I'm used to Law & Order where we see the damage of the crime on TV, but I'm like "oh my gosh, is he dead, injured, split in two!?!?"  It wasn't really until later when there was a comment about his death certificate that I was like "Ok. Got it. The Jerk's Dead!"

But at least at that point, since the book basically turned into a love story, Marlena & Jacob could be together without her having to cheat on her husband forever and get divorced.  Rosie the Elephant (who Jacob gave water to -- and that's how the book got its title) did the dirty work and got rid of August so the true love birds could be together.  I was ok with that.

I like animals.  And especially zoo animals (and I REALLY love dogs)...and I think I always WANT elephants and monkeys and lions to have these tame feelings and emotions like we can communicate with them or something.  So I really liked that Rosie had this relationship with Jacob & Marlena, so her August strike was like her communicating that she got it...he was an abusive piece of crap so who better to get rid of him than the elephant in the corner?! RIGHT??

I will say, when my mind is in a more alert state (like when I'm back to having normal sleep patterns and I'm not uncomfortable 24 hours a day) I would like to try to read this book again and see if I'm able to follow a plot better.  Because I like the author.  And she seems like she's got a respectable head on her shoulders.  I mean, I appreciate any person who likes to contribute to charitable causes and is passionate enough about them to incorporate these passions into her writings.  Go Sara Gruen!  How about your write a book about an African Safari!  I bet I'd like that!

So yes. I liked the book.  I'm not going to say that I LOVED the book, but there were some things about the book I did find myself loving.  So I say, read it yourself and tell me what you think!  Well, obviously, if you haven't read it I've just spoiled it for you. The dude gets the girl (and the elephant and a herd of horses) and they live happily ever after-ish.  So I guess if you have ALREADY READ the book...Tell me your thoughts!


Me putting the feet up lounging in my parents sun room.  I call it the reading room.  I love it!  When I'm an official grown up and I have my adult-grown-up house I will have a reading room.  And it will be grand...like a grand circus!