Thursday, April 12, 2012
Reading Journal: Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen (2006)
Incredibly evocative and detailed, but disarmingly clear in its prose - longer than it looks, and feels shorter than it is - Sara Gruen's novel more than deserves its fame. The main character has such an interesting backstory, and such a compassion for animals, and when he accidentally joins the circus, circa the Great Depression, the world he's drawn into is new and strange and exciting at nearly every turn. Plus, I'm a sucker for the point of view from which the story's told: old man in a nursing home remembering. The sting comes out of the language in the final hundred pages, but I found myself so invested in the outcome that I didn't care much. A pop novel, sure, but that shouldn't take anything away from it. I thought it was a great read.