Water For Elephants
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen is a book that I honestly only heard about once I heard about the movie. Since I saw Reese Witherspoon in a silky 1920′s glamazon gown standing next to an elephant, I knew I needed to read this book. It has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for what seems like forever, and now I know why!
This book is a silky, sinful, 1920′s dream. For anyone entranced with the era of Speakeasies and long formfitting gowns with a glamorous plunging neckline, this is a read for you. Sara Gruen paints a picture-perfect world of a struggling 1920s circus, complete with villan, vixen, and hero. While I have yet to see the movie, I liked having people to picture for each character, so of course Robert Pattinson served as the handsome veterinarian, Jacob, who runs away to join the circus after his parents’ tragic accident, Reese Witherspoon was the sultry Marlena, the petite, beautiful, and vulnerable star of the show who is married to the vicious ring master, the brutal August, played by Christopher Waltz in the movie.
The story is perfect arresting, and you hold your breath everytime Marlena and Jacob steal a glance behind August’s back. It is so easy head right into the underworld of alleyways and speakeasies in Chicago with these realistic lovable characters. I almost wished for a time when I could remember the Circus pulling up by train and surging under the big-top on opening night with excitement that had built up just from seeing posters around town. The book is sexy and sinful, just as the time period suggests, and the characters are so human, you want to cry for Jacob and cower from August right along with them.There is such an air of mystery for that time period, I love it! Any appreciation for fashion, too, will have you feeling gaga for Marlena’s open back dresses and plunging neck line, the way Gruen describes her pink sequin show dress is sheer perfection!
While I was not expecting this wonderful turn of the century story to be so good, I also wasn’t expecting it to be spliced between the modern day story of an old man coming to terms with life in a nursing home. I have to say, that part was extremely depressing, and I kept waiting for those parts to end so I could get back to the real drama in the heart of the circus. Of course, it all proved to be a seamless success in the last pages of the book, but I had to admit, not what I was expecting when I originally began reading.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who gets caught up in the adventure of joining an old-time circus, where the prospect of running away to join was a real prospect. Gruen’s tale is quite an exciting one, and I am thankful for the few minutes away in a foreign land in time that her book afforded me! I cannot wait to see the movie, it must be a visual buffet!