Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Guen

Stupendous! Magical! Heart wrenching! Just mystifying.. and downright depressing. I say this a lot about books in one way or a another. But, Water for Elephants was just spellbinding. The story begins in such a way I found myself going wait what that’s the opening scene well where do we go from here? And then you are brought to the main character he’s no longer a strong young lad as you see him on the cover of the book (My friend’s mother lent me her book which has the movie cover not the original) but, as a frail man caught in a system that can break so many of our living seniors. The story itself the one about the circus was dark and foreboding, quite realistic showing how hard times were during the era this book took place. I am impressed with how authors research the topics they choose to write about, especially when it comes to fiction. To finish a book and learn so much of this was true is always a mixed blessing. The characters themselves seem so real and everyone who has ever been to a circus or fair will automatically be able to relate to this story and see in their minds eyes the scenes the author creates and even smell what is wafting throughout the story. The incredible thing about this book though I found was the shifting between the story of the young man and the present day old man. It was so bizarre to be in the young world during prohibition and the depression and then be thrown back into the modern era where though there is no depression this character was happier in his own past. It was like you were jerked back into reality and then hypnotized back into the past story. Not to mention when having to put the book down realizing there really is no sounds of the circus or smell of cotton candy and caramel apples. I loved this book, I do not want to be all preachy, but it also I hope shows young readers why it’s cruel to keep changing things on old people to rip them from what they’ve known what they’ve worked for their entire lives and then deposit them in a place where workers come and go, Drs medicate instead of talking to understand why these older patients are struggling or upset(I am not saying all places are like this, but a lot of the time our solution is take a pill and deal) If people took a moment and spoke to their elders they may learn about the past their story and become enchanted by it and learn a thing or two rather than just thinking their elders are old news. Yes! They are! But, they were there when events that are books now were real! The book has villains and heroes and those who can be neither because of the world they are trapped in. I wish I could spill so much about this plot and how much I admired the story in itself. From the ticket sales person, the hard manual labor guys, cake faced clowns, to the glitzy glam performers both humans and animals alike. It just flowed so well and kept you going and progressed in a grand way. It opens with a bang and ends in a melody. I have not seen the movie, but I am tempted to now just to see the colors of the movie and know how gritty and plastered over everything was in that day. I am glad I got to know my Great Grandmother and Nanny they both left me with some of their stories, and I wish they were around to compare and contrast this book, because they were there. If you read this book read the authors notes at the ends it will only add to the story.

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