Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Swept up in the Big Top

Water for Elephants.
Sara Gruen
I purchased Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants when it was first issued in paperback back in 2007. I think I started reading and just couldn't get into the story.  Please, don't ask me why. I truly have no idea. When I saw the movie was coming out (yes another book to movie read for me) I simply had to read the book. I was so engrossed in the story I could hardly stop reading. I wanted to read every minute of the day until I finished the book.  Was I able to do that? No, but I wanted to and that is my point. The characters were interesting and I felt compassion and empathy for them, well most of them (Jacob, Marlena, Rosie, Walter, and Camel especially). I was completely blown away by this book. After finishing the last page, which included an interview with Sara Gruen, I wanted to read more about the circus. Not just fictional stories about the circus, but true stories and behind the scenes information. I wanted to know about the sideshow acts, the menagerie, and all of the various people who worked for the circus.

I know there has been a great deal of controversy over the cruelty to the animals in the menagerie as well as performing in the circus. I was horrified to read about some of the actual events Ms. Gruen pulled from in order to create her story. It makes my heart sick to think someone could treat these beautiful and exotic animals in such a cruel fashion. I'm not sure why I have the desire to read historical information about the circus. I guess I simply did not want the story to end. I know I have come across the same problem in years past with other books. [I still have not finished the last two...soon to be in Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander series.  I can't begin to think of life without Jamie and Claire. I know, now I'm just crazy, right?!? These are characters in a book, not real people! However, the characters have been so well developed and have been a part of my life for so long I feel like they belong to me...again, crazy I know.]

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