Sunday, 27 March 2011
Water for Elephants (Book Review)
Book: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Reason to Read: March Book Selection for the Book to Film Club, and I've only heard good things about it.
Wow. Where to start. I guess firstly I found Water For Elephants more than a little surprizing in terms of my reaction to the book. After all the love I've heard for it and reading several rave reviews, I was off to a very rocky start as I initially did not connect to the characters, story or setting. In fact, if it wasn't for the book club I would have actually put the book down after only reading a few chapters and gone onto the next book on my list. But, that wouldn't be setting the best example, so I kept on trudging though and eventually did start to make a connection, albeit never super strong.
I'll give it that it was a swift read and I enjoyed the circus setting, and did eventually start to warm over to the characters but had trouble connecting with the protagonist Jacob as he's well... so male. I guess I've really been reading books with female protagonists because I found this quite the change of pace and I was pretty impatient with Jacob, which feels pretty mean considering he starts off the journey with pretty devastating circumstances. And that was hard too, the setting and time period are during challenging times where everyone is really struggling and have very limited choices, which can lead to desperate acts, actions and reactions. I'm not a fan of that.
So, it certainly wasn't what I was expected. It reminded me of when people call something 'inspiring' but when I see it, it feels like the majority of it is bleak and then the inspiring part is because of the high contrast. I did absolutely adore a lot of the animal focus though, without that I'd have had a lot of trouble making in through.
I think the casting in the film is absolutely perfect though. Robert Pattinson (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse) as Jacob is a great fit, as are Reese Witherspoon as Marlena and Christoph Waltz as August. From the trailer I can say I'm totally loving the whimsical and slightly magical tone to the film, and the period feels like it's been captured with both quaintness and weariness that feel authentic and glamorous. The film is directed by Francis Lawrence, and I absolute loved the art direction an styling of Constantine, so with that in mind and the beauty of the trailer I have a feeling that I'll be captivated by the film, likely more so than the book.
Water for Elephants is our April Film selection for the Book to Film Club. The film will be released Friday April 22, 2011. See film review of Water for Elephants here.
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