"Water for Elephants" was so intriguing. It's about a 23-year old boy who, due to a family tragedy, is left with nothing and is unable to take his final exams in his final year of veterinary school. He runs away, ends up on a circus train and is put in charge of caring for the animals. He meets Marlena, the beautiful equestrian and Rosie, the elephant. That summer changes his life forever. It kind of reminds me of "The Notebook" or "Titanic" because it's the old man, looking back and remembering his life when he was a young man working in the circus. The story is magical. It had just about everything you crave in a book: romance, action, tragedy, and unlikely events. The New York Times Book Review called it "An enchanting escapist fairy tale." Parade said "Gritty, sensual and charged with dark secrets." I couldn't agree more. This book is definitely not for young teens, though. Very rated R, and very graphic. I could have wished for a little bit more romance, but in the end, I don't even notice because I'm so captivated by everything else.
I especially liked the author's notes at the end of the book, telling about her research and true events that she linked into her story. She also included real black and white photos from circuses in the 1920's and 30's. Immediately after reading this book, I was on wikipedia and other websites doing a little research myself. It is all so incredibly interesting!
I'm so glad I read the book before the movie comes out. I love picturing the story myself without the influence of anything else in my mind. The movie, featuring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, will be out in theatres on April 22, 2011 and I can't wait to see it!!