Monday, October 1, 2007

Water for Elephants

Catching up with one another consumed the first hour (or so) of our early Sunday evening book group. With the summer wrapping up there was lots to discuss, vacations, family, jobs, movies oh, and a book.

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen details the surprisingly likable world of a tier two circus troop in the hard luck 20's and 30's. Told through the eyes of a young college aged boy we are treated to characters who although fit for a circus are well rounded and unique.

Gruen adeptly describes the hierarchy of the troop, the menagerie folks don't eat with the performers, but nobody gets paid and nobody complains lest they get red-lighted (aka tossed from the train while its moving to the next town.)

Jacob is remembering his first years with the circus while he waits for his family to visit him in his retirement home. We are quickly drawn into a world of tents, horses and dancing elephants. Neither world is all that perfect but in the end we appreciate both for what they are.

We felt that the author captured the male voice and thought process well and only a couple times crossed the boundaries into dialog that was more apt to be female than male.

While we all liked the book and the story presented we universally took issue with the journey of the modern day Jacob and thought the end to his storyline was unrealistic. Well, as unrealistic as a story about a veterinarian hopping aboard an unknown train and landing a job with a traveling circus could be.

All in all, thumbs up and an enjoyable read.

(If we direct you to Amazon to buy the book do you think they will sue us for borrowing a picture of the same book from their web site? I hope not; if they sue us then I'll stop buying my books there. tlp)