Book Review: Water for Elephants

When my mother gives me books, I begin to fit in more with the “vast reading public.” It’s the Borders crowd, with their lattes and $25 books, the one’s whose books are always new and often on the Bestsellers list. Call me cynical, but I say the system feeds on itself. The public selects novels that have been selected for them by publishers and accepted by chain retailers who sell limited table space to showcase them. I don’t have $25 for every book I want to read, and my penchant is to catch up on classics before forging ahead. (I think the test of time is a worthy one.)

However, these feelings don’t actually take away from the value of the literature that does make it out there. This novel, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants made it on the New York Times Bestsellers list for over a year! Having read it, I see how Water for Elephants is a crowd-pleaser, and it is definitely a pleasant read.

Circus, love, age, elephants, insanity, dwarfs…and in the end, the young lovers come together despite the boundaries of society to form a happy union and long life. There’s peril a top train cars and in lion cages and just a little bit of sex, all seen through the intelligent and honest failed medical student who ends up among them.

Great literature? Nah. It’s a little trite. There’s a lot to be said for easily-digestable fun though, and for the carny angle.

What do you think? Am I too blase?

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