Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday Recommends #2

I can't believe it's Friday again already! These days are just flying by at the moment!
And as it's Friday, this also means that it's time for Friday Recommends. I thought for this week I would choose a book that I've read fairly recently, that will definitely be going down as one of my top 10 favourites that I've read this year! I implore you all to read it!


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Waterstone's synopsis:

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits - the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth - a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. Jacob, a veterinary student who almost earned his degree, is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

When I first read the synopsis for this novel, I considered trying it, but was a little sceptical that a novel set in the circus would be able to hold my attention for over 400 pages. It took me a couple of months to decide to go for it, so I got it for my eReader and read it between studying for my end of year university exams, and I'm so thrilled that I went for it! Water for Elephants is a truly passionate love story set against a circus background that showcases an image not a life of wonder and glamour that the circus tries to project, but of horror and hardship. But this perspective of circus life does not detract from the love story between Jacob and Marlena, but rather makes it all the more spectacular and heart-warming.

Jacob is a truly inspiring character - he overcomes all hurdles against him, despite the odds he faces, including the death of both his parents, the loss of his family home, and the abuse and threat he discovers once he finds himself with the circus. Marlena's character is no less inspiring though; she is a wonderfully loyal character, and although obviously unhappy in her marriage to the sometimes malicious and unpredictable August, she still manages to find a great deal of love in her heart for the others around her.

My favourite character however, is Rosie, the Elephant. Although as an animal she doesn't speak, and we don't understand her like we can understand the human characters, she definitely has a fantastic personality, which shines through in her actions, particularly towards the end of the novel. It is easy to forget that she is an animal, and definitely easy to fall in love with her!
This book has made such an impression on me, and it will stay with me for a long time to come! I'm almost certain that it would stick with anyone who reads it.



If you are considering watching the film, I implore you to read the novel first. The film alters the story a little too much for my liking, and you will want the full impact of the proper story before you watch the edited version.

30 comments:

Kim Croisant said...

Happy Friday! I'm a new follower of yours and look forward to reading more. Nice blog!

I'm new at this and would love all the help I can get.
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sam1978 said...

LOVED this book, one of my keepers x

Anonymous said...

HI - Am your NEWEST FOLLOWER via the Friday hop -nice to meet you!

Love reading so love your site! Esp. love the Halloweend links/hops!
Thanks for sharing -

Happy Weekend!

Linda
beachside cottage

Kathryn said...

found you on the blog hop, new follower, would love a follow back!

http://cumminslife.blogspot.com/

Debbie said...

You have an award at http://debs-bookwormbookmark.blogspot.com/
Debs x

BooksforCompany said...

I don't think I will read this book tbh, I just added it to my rent list on lovefilm. Think I will enjoy the movie more than the book!

Lindsay said...

I have this tbr, thanks for the recommendation.

There is an award for you on my blog :)
http://thelittlereaderlibrary.blogspot.com/2011/10/thank-you-for-my-blog-award.html

TToria said...

I loved this book! I actually enjoyed the film too.
Following you from your post on goodreads :-)

Veronika said...

I had read this book before the movie came out. I was absolutely fascinated by it! It was captivating, I couldn't put it down. Its a romantic love story, but there is so much mure to it. The whole circus life, with its horrific, sometimes beautiful things completely amazed me. My absulutely favorite character was Jacob..and Rosie of course :D

marybelle said...

It was only after the movie came out that I became aware of the book. I do have it on my reading list.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Valerie said...

I'm afraid it may be too late for me and this book. I watched the movie first - I had a free code for Redbox and I saw Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson as the actors so I thought I couldn't go wrong... Boy I was mistaken! I did not care for the movie at all! But maybe I'll have to give the book a try. I usually let books speak for themselves rather than judging them by the film adaptations (cue Eragon - what a pity).

Anonymous said...

I love this book, and movie!

Little Sprites said...

Thanks for the awesome review....I have seen the film, but had not read the book. I have finally bought it and can't wait to read it.....books are always better than movies....so this has to be great!

SaraEchelon5 said...

I've heard lots of good things about this book!
I was going to watch the film but fortunately I read your review, the story seems really meaningful and intense and the description you made about the elephant it's lovely. I'm sure I'll fall in love with the animal too, as always.
Thank you for sharing with us your useful impression
xxx

Denise Z said...

I recently received both the book and DVD, it is good to know I should start with the book. Thanks for sharing today, this book is a little out of my normal reading and it helps to read a review making me want to read the book :)

beccabooklover said...

Sadly I watched the film first which I always hate doing when the book is out there! I did love the film though and I'm sure the book is alot better. I can totally see where your coming from by saying that Rosie is your favourite character. I think maybe thats the whole point of the story; showing that animals aren't property and have feelings and can have actual relationships with individuals. I hated the treatment of the animals in the film and I'm sure reading about it, with all the details would be alot worse. I hope to pick the book up sometime soon! Great review :)

Catriona said...

I have just recently read a book in a circus setting which I loved, so it makes me all the more excited to get my hands on this book! I have been wanting to read it now for a little while.

This book just sounds amazing. Heard so many great things about it.

I will definitely read this before watching the movie, though. And wonderful review!

Carol M said...

I know lots of people have liked this book but I didn't really think I would. Now after reading your review, I want to. I love animals and what you said about Rosie makes this book even more appealing to me.

Anonymous said...

I loved the movie! It was soooo beautiful. So now I really want to read the book. I saw it at one point in a bookstore but I'm not sure they still have it. I should go check...
I think it's awesome how your favorite character was Rosie the elephant. ^^

Jaime Lynn Lester said...

I loved reading your review of Water for Elephants. It is always nice to see someone who holds the same view as you do. Water for Elephants is quite honestly one of the best books I have ever read and one of my favorites. They didn't do so bad with the movie either. Thanks for your great review!

Bookie Bee said...

This has been on my bookshelf for a long while now...i seriously need to get down to reading it!
Great review!

The Book Babe said...

I remember really loving this book. And I agree. You need to read the book before you watch the movie. The movie alters a whole bunch of small details, and it makes the full impact just a bit different. Plus, every time I watch it, I end up thinking about Twilight, because of Robert Pattison. I almost can't look at him without thinking 'Edward'. Great review. :)

Janita said...

I loved this book (and the dvd)!

Kristall said...

i love both this book and it's movie.

Jaycee said...

I've only ever seen the film, but that was on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic!! Movies under the Stars - literally. I'd heard about the book, but never got around to reading it, but after your review I will go make a more concerted effort to find it.

aldelei89 said...

i've watched the movie and it was so great! a friend recommended the book even before the movie came out, but i still haven't read it. Jacob is indeed inspiring. i hope to know him better when i get the chance to read the book in the near future :)

Ashley said...

Great review! Unfortunately I have already seen the movie though. But I did enjoy it so maybe I'd like the book too. :) I also really liked Rosie too. I don't know how different she is in the book than in the movie, but she seemed like such a sweet character. I want my own Rosie!

Gisele said...

I found out about this book when they start picking the cast of the movie, so I read it and I must say I liked it, but the end was a bit off for me. The movie was good!

~Jennifer~ said...

I love this book! I borrowed it from a friend a little over a year ago and took a bit for me to get into, but once I was in it was all the way! I've been wanting to read it again and found it at a used bookstore on clearance for $2!! So happy! :D Awesome review! I'm looking forward to reading more books set in a circus because of this one.

Gaby said...

I want this book! Ever since I saw the movie I have been dying to get my hands on this book :) So glad you liked it.

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