Water For Elephants
Apr 2, 2011
Author: Sara Gruen
Publication Date: 2006
Movie Premier Date: April 22, 2011
A wonderful story! Not happy wonderful, though it is that in parts, but just well written and completely engrossing. I was drawn into the characters lives by page 3. The writing is clean and clear, descriptive yet not distracting from the story.
This is a gritty view of circus life. What occurs behind the big top. Not very nice, not very clean, and often violent. Many circus workers have nowhere else to go so they tolerate less than human kindness for the security of a bed to sleep on and a few (not always three) meals a day.
Jacob lands in this world after walking away from Vet school when his parents die suddenly. When the circus finds out he's nearly a vet, he becomes the golden boy and is immediately put into the animal pens. There, while discovering to his disgust, the abuse and mistreatment of the animals, he also discovers Marlena. Marlena rides the horses in the circus. She is graceful, beautiful, gracious, kind.........and married to a psychotic schizophrenic who's now Jacob's boss. Not a good combination.
This is the story of Jacob and Marlena, and other various circus folks who you grow to care about, and grieve when you are once again reminded what a cruel and harsh life it is living on a train going from town to town.
At the beginning of the book there is a scene which you believe is clear and gives away a portion of the end, but turns out to be misleading and has a nice shock value to it. I loved it!
The ending is a treat, that's all I'll say. I can only hope that the movie follows the book to the letter, because I can't think of anyway to make this story better than it already is.