Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Water For Elephants: Even Better the Second Time

on April 29, 2011
Sells-Floto Circus train unloading

Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr

Spoiler Warning – Big time! I mean it!

You were warned…

I’ve read Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen twice now.  The first time was about three years ago.  The book hadn’t been out in paperback for long and I decided to pick it up. It sat on my shelf for a little bit since I had a bit of a book back log. When I did get to it, I wasn’t sure what to think. The two page teaser at the beginning grabbed me right away, but the next chapter was from the point of view of an old man.  It wasn’t nearly as interesting as the teaser.  I kept trudging through and it picked up once I realized that the old man was the young man in the flashbacks.

The second time I read it was last fall when my offline book club chose it as our October selection.  I reread the book since most of it was hazy in my mind. I remember enjoying it much more the second time around.  I understood what exactly was going on in the teaser, but I had forgotten enough of it to make most of the novel seem new again.  I was also able to look at the old man in a new light – understanding that it was the same man and how that experienced shaped him.

Overall, I liked the book, but there was one part that almost made me stop reading the book.  As any regular reader knows, I’m a bit of a dog lover. When Kinko’s dog, Queenie, was lost, I was almost in tears.  I was in tears in the next chapter when Marlena brought the dog back to him.  The character of Kinko is such a hard guy, obviously affected by his physical stature and that he was the bottom of the performers.  The dog was the only thing he cared about and it made him more human.

Next weekend, my offline book club is meeting to go see the new Water for Elephants movie. While I’m not a big Robert Pattinson fan (liked him as Cedric in Harry Potter, can’t get over him as a sparkly vampire in Twilight), I do like Reese Witherspoon and the story is epic enough to play well on the big screen.  I hear that the elephant steals the show, though!


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