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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

My review of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

About the book:

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.


My review:

I read this book on my kindle a week after watching the movie and I have to say I enjoyed the movie a lot more. They did a number of adaptations for the screenplay that made it work better. Like August was the owner in the movie, but in the book he wasn't but he was in charge of the animals and Uncle Al was the owner. At any rate, the movie was made for a PG-13 rating and though there were some mild situations and language, it was tolerable, vs. the book, where there was a lot of swearing and a few lewd descriptions that weren't necessary for the story in order for it to be a good one. If not for the cheesy sexual stuff and multiple F-bombs dropped, I would have enjoyed the book more. The story itself is quite good, but the delivery of it was lacking because of the language and overly-detailed sexual situations. So if I were to recommend one, I'd tell people to choose the movie over the book. It's less crude, and ultimately, a more satisfying experience. The story structure itself reminded me a lot of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

Water for Elephants was published by Algonquin Books and released in May 2007.

Here is a link to the movie in case you are interested in getting the DVD on Amazon instead...

 

6 comments:

Heather Murphy said...

Thank you for this review. I've had the book on my Kindle for months now and haven't read it yet. Now I'm wondering if I should skip straight to the movie. usually I like to read the book first. I appreciate the insight!

Sheila Deeth said...

Not seen the movie yet--too many guys in my household. But I did enjoy the book.

Martha A. said...

Thanks for the review, I had a friend who called me and said it was on the list of books that her daughter had been given to choose from to read from the school librarian. She is in 5th grade, but has a high school reading level. I had not read it, but remembered someone saying it had adult themes in it, so I discouraged her reading it. From your review, I am surprised it would be recommended reading for high school, let alone given to a 5th grader?

Michelle Sutton said...

It had some crude stuff in it like describing nasty pictures, a guy masturbating while looking at them, and a stripper doing things with her own body that were very descriptive and had an ick factor to them. Plus, it made it sound like men loved that, plus after she did that she "entertained" guys with grunts and such in another tent for two dollars each. There is also a scene where she is trying to have sex with a very drunk man. I don't think I need to say more... the movie was very mild in comparison. Even the beating scenes of the elephant were crueler in the book.

Joy Tamsin David said...

I read the book first, so when I saw the movie I was very disappointed. I didn't think they did the book justice. Except for the handful of lewd sexual scenes, I thought the book was very good. I would never, never let a 5th grader read it though. Yikes!

Michelle Sutton said...

Too much ick factor in the book for me. I really didn't need all the cussing in my head and the image of that stripper messing with her breasts. Ick.

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