Rated of 5
by Whitney Water for Elephants
I just recently joined a book club at the library and this was the first book that I read. I had wanted to read Water for Elephants for quite a while and was glad I was making the time to. To be honest, I don't think this book lived up to all the hype. It was a cute story but I never felt any character-reader relationship with anyone in the circus. I had mixed feelings about Jacob because even though he was a sweet kid and I liked him the best out of all the characters in the novel, he also committed adultery with another man's wife and sat back and watched as both August and Uncle Al treated the animals and performers like crap. As I said before I really didn't care for August and Uncle Al as they treated their "co-workers" horribly and just seemed like the stereo-typical evil-doers. Neither of their deaths came as a surprise to me nor did I really care as I had no emotional attachment towards either one. Marlena I found extremely annoying and it felt like all she ever did was lay on her back and cry, I know that's harsh but I think there is some truth to it. Sadly enough, Rosie was the only one I felt any attachment to or really cared about. One thing that did surprised me was who killed August, I read the prologue before reading the book and the author made me think that Marlena did it. I did enjoy this book and am glad I read it I just never felt connected to the characters or the storyline. Overall, the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth was not very spectacular.
Rated of 5
by Equinesportsmed Plot that plods like an elephant
Did you ever ride a cheap carnival roller coaster, where you hear each gear ka-chunking into place as the car laboriously starts out along the teeny-tiny track. That is an apt metaphor for this book, carny setting and all. I was not surprised in the least to read an interview with the author in the back, wherein she explains that she fell in love with the world of depression-era circuses and contrived to write the novel about it. Every plot element and character is just that: contrived. The writing is clear and simple--kind of USA Today level--but no one in this book thinks or talks like people from the 1930s. As it so happens, I am a veterinarian from Cornell. In the book, Jacob’s Polish veterinarian (?!) father is killed in an automobile accident, leaving him destitute because his parents mortgaged their house to pay for his "ivy league" education. Did Ms Gruen have to work so hard to have Jacob speak Polish and leave home? Even if his parents died destitute, there would be no reason why he could not take over the practice--it's not like the bank could take the local clients away. And the loss of family home... Cornell's college of veterinary medicine was and remains a land-grant school, i.e. a highly subsidized portion of the agricultural education system of New York. No one had to mortgage their house to attend Cornell's agricultural or veterinary college. And the veterinary detail is so incredibly lame! Horses don't founder for no reason, and there certainly was palliative care, which any horseman would know. And the scenes of gratuitous cruelty, such as slitting old horses’ throats to feed the cats-- surely Ms Gruen, author of Flying Changes, is an equestrian enough to realize any horse not dead yet would quickly overpower the inept horse butcher or run away. If you are bringing people in to a “lost world”, at least try to make the detail plausible!
Rated of 5
by Dewey I expected...
Half-way through the book I came up with my OWN ending and thought for sure that was where this book was headed. I was disappointed by the "easy" tv ending.
I was convinced that the old man was experiencing memories that were, in actuality, not his own, but those of the other old man who angered him by claiming that HE'D delivered water for the elephants.
THAT would have been a nice left turn. And would have made so much sense since the nurse herself explained to him that men often alter their memories to make them their own.
Even so, I enjoyed the book.
Rated of 5
by gingeralicedaire Cheap Ending
What a cheap ending! All this drama and otherwise good writing wilts at the end. I enjoyed the story and stayed up past midnight to finish the book in one day. Then I felt totally cheated by the cheezy ending. Surely something better could have been devised?
Rated of 5
by Frank Shallow
Perhaps I demand too much from an author. For me, there was no depth to the characters, no development. As one reviewer said, characters were "one dimensional". This book had potential, but I feel it failed to achieve anything but the disclosure fo the cruel treatment of people and animals by circus owners and their unbelievable greed. While the past and present flip-flop of Jacob's life could have been clever, I felt there was a complete disconnect between the two.
Rated of 5
by Jeremy Eames An Endearing Book
As you walk through the scratchy canvas flaps into the grandiose circular tent, the smell of freshly popped popcorn hits your nostrils. You hear vendors hawking their wares with shouts of “Get your peanuts, get your freshly salted peanuts right here.” You duck as a bag flies over your head making the hair on your neck snap to attention. Then you turn the page. Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen, is an outstanding piece of fiction that can so envelope the reader as to render them mute for hours on end while he frantically flips the pages, piecing together a you mans life. Any reader, who picks up this book, until the last word of the last sentence, is completely spellbound. The story opens to a chilling murder that won’t be resolved until the end of the novel. From here the story proceeds to follow the reminiscing of a ninety or ninety-three year old- he can never remember which- stuck inside a nursing home when out of the blue a circus arrives in town. From here the author takes you back in time to when this gentleman was in his early twenties. On track to become a veterinarian within a week, his life is devastated when his Polish parents are killed in a car crash. This leads to his subsequent lack of interest in his final exams and ensuing withdrawal from an Ivy League institution. Almost immediately he joins with a circus, befriends a dwarf, falls for a lovely woman, and declares war against her insane husband. Much of the remaining plot is intricately woven through hooker tents and riotous crowds. From one man's feelings for a married woman and lone dwarfs sexual needs. Because of its fast pace, divine story, and thorough descriptions this is truly a book to be savored. Full of excitement and adventure, this is sure to be a staple of modern fiction for years to come an, who knows, might even end up on a summer reading list or two.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...