Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I did like this book, I may have falling victim to being a little overexcited by the hype but for me it didn't live up.
The yellow flag was waiving for me as I was reading, but the red flag has shown itself now just a few days later....I have already forgotten the names of characters, even ones that I enjoyed. As the male lead, Jacob was interesting, developed and gave us a great beginning: small town kid from humble beginnings about to finish his Ivy League veteranary education when tragedy strikes. Enter the circus, every young runaway's sleepytime fantasy. It keeps up for a bit, and actually does manage to hold you in throughout the story, but the characterization and depth of story drops shortly after this, and drops like a lead weight.
Marlena as a the female lead and love interest is basically boring. I gathered from the blatant scenes and statements that Jacob has fallen in love with her, but even at the end of the book have no understanding of why. All we know about her is that she is beautiful, married, wears pink sequins when performing with the horses and that Jacob is in love with her. August, as her husband, is equally flat, and boxed into the stereotype of violence due to his mental illness. This part was almost over the top to me.
The story itself was fast paced in a way that kept you intrigued, but in retrospect I think it went too fast, as nothing is memorable at this point. I honestly cannot remember if the speak-easy or the drunken night in the stateroom came first.
I know it does not sound like it, but overall I did enjoy this book and would recommend it as a light read. My disappointment is primarily driven by the rave reviews it received and the hype surrounding it. Go into it with expectations of "I hope I like this" or "This might be a good book" and it can be a good book. Definitely never a great one in my book though.
View all my reviews