So, the second installment of my new book club is Water for Elephants. We rearranged the list due to the upcoming movie premier. We’re going to have a book club date at the movies and then a meeting so we can talk about both. As you may have learned from prior posts, I’m a book snob, so I tend to not read popular fiction, and now, I don’t know why. Stubborn pretensions I guess. I really do usually read non-fiction… so, reading this book suddenly made me feel like I have a soul. Who knew? I really could not put this book down… it has been a long time since I’ve stayed up past my bedtime just to read ‘one more chapter’ after another. The book is romantic, but not in a cheesy make-you-want-to-throw-up way… it just seems exotic and exciting and the stuff of dreams (good ones). I’m not going to lie, usually circuses kind of creep me out. Midgets, bearded women, freaks… nightmarish to me. Carnies?? EEEEP. But this book did not affect me like that at all. It was mysterious and romantic and I could not get enough.
The story is told from the point of view of a 90 (or 93?) year old man. Most of the book is his recounting of his life story. But the narration changes between his old self and the young one that is living in the story. The author does a great job of distinguishing between the two personas. The old man narrator is completely endearing and vulnerable in the way that someone who relies upon others for every day survival must be. But he’s still spunky. He reminds me of my grandfather before he passed away – the nurse in the hospital would ask if there was anything she could get him and he’d say he wanted two fingers of whiskey. And asked if he killed a nurse if I would get him out of jail. Anyways, I digress. The writing is incredibly sensitive and vivid – it’s like traveling to another time and place. Also, she describes the elephant in a way that makes it sound like a human… or my mom’s dog Ruby. It’s adorable. Recommend! Read before you go see the movie!
P.s…. Robert Pattinson was NOT who I envisioned in the role of Jacob. But I’ll revisit this after I see the movie.