Monday, March 4, 2013

Review of Water For Elephants


It didn't take me long to finish this novel. I've already seen the movie adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Patterson so I knew what I was in for.
Mostly I like it the other way around, first reading the novel and then seeing the adaptation, but it worked fine this time.
I had been a time I had seen the movie, but the plot was still somewhere in my memory and of course that held out some of the surprises in the novel.

Water for elephants is a story about a young man, Jacob, who's on a drift, after losing both his parents and ending up on a circus train in the early 30's. He gets a job as the show's vet and becomes close to the girl, Marlena, who's doing the liberty act with the horses. As the circus steadily tries to make a living, the tumultuous relationship between Jacob, Marlena and her husband August whose suffering from paranoid mood swings. In the end every thing spirales together in a heartbreaking climax.

I liked it. It was a lovely romantic story filled with joy, laughter, tears and fights. In some way it made me think of Moulin Rouge, with also an almost imposssible connection between the star and a poor sod trying to make a living.
I'm glad this story ends more happily than Moulin Rouge, though.
The story being infused with occasional tidings from elderly Jacob wasn't necessary in my opinion, but it didn't do anything hurtful to the story either. Only the ending of it was somewhat hollywoodian (happy endings). It might have been harsher, but it would have been closer to life if he would've just withered away in the resting home. A cruel jape to how important somethings may appear in one point of time and how it can feel it being all in vain so many years later.

Coincidence makes for the circus being in the neighbourhood this weekend and I'm actually curious to go see what's it all about, because in all of my life I've been to a circus only once and I don't recall much of it but getting a free ticket and being in a small round tent.

My personal rating: 4 stars

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