Friday, January 14, 2011

Cannonball! Book #2 Puts On A Show!

Please Note: It may seem improbable that I could have actually read another book this quickly, but I assure you, that's how I read. Mind you, I'm not skimming, either; I read thoroughly, but speedily. So trust me, I'm doing this thing for real. Psh!

BOOK #2: Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water For Elephants is a book I had frequently encountered when browsing the shelves at my local B&N (that's Barnes & Noble for all you cool kids who don't frequent the store enough to abbreviate). The cover looked intriguing enough, and while I had no idea what it was about, I'd at least heard that it was supposed to be very good.

Recently, the trailer for the movie version of the novel came out, so I figured I should finally read the book. I'm not adamantly for or against reading a novel before it's put on film--it usually depends on what it is. Regardless, I read the novel first this time--though it was hard to keep images from the trailer out of mind (except Robert Pattinson--he's dreeeamy).

It makes sense that Water For Elephants would be turned into a movie; the novel itself has a very cinematic feel to it. The scenes described are beautifully worded and fit to be transported to screen--Sara Gruen has brought a fantastic subject (circus life, specifically during the 1930's) to light, one not often seen in story or on film.

The book is not, however, without its weaknesses. The beginning seems rushed, as if Gruen was a bit eager to get to the heart of the story she was telling, and the ending seems to follow that pattern as well. I felt that, while the book wrapped itself up just fine, it was so mild compared to the rest of the story; I expected another chapter, even another paragraph!

Regardless of its little overture-big show-even littler finale, Elephants plays right into a favorite genre of mine: historical fiction. Gruen carefully wove circus stories of the day into her own book, leaving a seamless blend of fact and fiction, one that puts you right there with the smell of hay and popcorn and dusty tracks. It did the best thing for me that historical fiction can ever do: it made me want to learn more.

So, on that note, I'm off to research the circus! Or, me and my sleep-deprived self could actual go to bed.

Yeah, the elephants will still be there in the morning.

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