Just a quick note to say that 1) I'm alive and writing, and 2) I finally finished Water for Elephants after a month or two of not having time to read and then waiting for my purchased copy to come in the mail after the library copy had to go back.
Here are my notes: it was amazing!!!
Here are the extended notes:
The freshness of Gruen's writing kept the pace going and going and going and piling on the tension, emotion, drama, and passion. The majority of the story is set along a train circus in 1931 and you don't leave the grit and sweat of a working traveling circus at any point. The flow of the story is kept vivid with the help of amazing black and white photos of actual circus scenes of the era accompanying each chapter that pertains to the 1931 portion of the story.
The tale is humbling, exciting, and the ending is fitting of the story to the last line. This is one of the best "literary fiction" stories I've read that doesn't lead with heavy emotion, thought processes, or description but action, action, action paired with deep meaning and a love of the characters. Loved it!