Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Water for Elephants

I can't remember the last time I cried at the ending of a book, but there I was in the plane with a stranger beside me, blinking fast to hold back tears.

This is the second time I've read Water for Elephants.  I enjoyed it the first time, but I don't recollect the end having the same effect on me that time around.

I re-read this for the BPYC book club.  The novel was enjoyed by all who attended, including fellow blogger and kindred spirit, Annika.  Everyone agreed Kaarina made a fine choice, and she served some great treats:  lemonade and burger sliders;  a wonderful sasparilla drink called sarsi; and an outstanding combo of caramel corn and a Jacob's Creek chardonnay/ pinot noir that was absolutely yummy.

Oh yes.... back to the book....

Photo credit
This is essentially a love story, set during the Depression in a traveling circus; but it is reminisced by the much older Jacob.  At 90 years old (or is it 93? even he isn't sure), the past is more real to him, and certainly more appealing.  He flashes back to memories of coming of age, and falling in love, remembering the characters he met along the way. 

One of the most memorable characters for me is Rosie, the elephant.  I think I may have fallen as much in love with her as Jacob did... with her skin the colour of a storm, massive ears, expressive eyes, wandering trunk.  A taste for gin and watermelon seemed to make her more endearing, as did her obstinate personality.

The author, Sarah Gruen, was a technical writer before trying her hand at fiction, and it shows in her attention to detail and descriptions of mechanics that make her telling vivid.  You feel as though you are there watching at some points. There is one scene in particular, of a striptease act in the cooch tent, that is especially memorable.

It will be interesting to see how much of the older Jacob survives the screen adaptation.

I'm looking forward to the movie. The author was on set for much of the filming, and remarked at the time that although she hadn't seen the edited version yet,  she felt what she did see being filmed was true to the book:  

1 comment:

Annika said...

Fabulous book and the movie trailer looks very promising; It's like watching old friends on the screen.. Can't wait for the release.