Friday, June 24, 2011

Elephants and Relationships

Today you get two reviews in one post! I finished Water for Elephants the other day, and then I finished Bitter End by Jennifer Brown. Both fantastic books. I think I'll start with Water for Elephants.

About two months ago (maybe? I don't remember the exact date) I went and saw the movie Water for Elephants with my roommate, Liz. Now I usually read the book before I go and see the movie, but I made an exception for this one because one, I didn't have the book, and two, I didn't have much time to read since it was around exam time. Anyway, I saw the movie and I thought it was pretty good. I'd recommend it. While I was reading the book, I found myself constantly thinking if the movie followed it. I'd say it did pretty well, except for a few small details. But that's to expect from any book made into a movie. They've gotta change some things to make it a better movie. However, they do not have to change the whole plot, which they do with some (Eragon. If you liked the movie, read the book. You won't any more). This movie didn't. Which I thought was fantastic.

You probably would like some plot, huh? Water for Elephants is basically the story of Jacob Jankowski, and when he worked on the Benzini brothers circus. After losing his parents to a car accident, Jacob finds himself without any money or work. So he starts walking, and ends up jumping onto a circus train. Oh, this is during the Great Depression as well, so everyone is hard for work. So Jacob starts working for the circus, and the rest of the novel follows the circus as it slowly falls into chaos. It's a great story, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in reading about a circus.

What I liked about this book is how real the characters seemed. Sarah Gruen did a good job in developing her characters, even the ones that didn't really have a major part in the novel. It gave the novel a much more realistic feel and I really enjoyed it. Another thing that I enjoyed was the pictures that she included of circuses at the time. It helped me picture what was really going on in the novel.

Bitter End wasn't as good as Water for Elephants, but it was still a good book. Bitter End (which I got through BBYA, by the way) is about a girl, Alex, who falls in love with the new boy in school, Cole. At first, everything about their relationship is perfect. Cole is sweet and romantic, and Alex absolutely adores all the attention that he gives her. But things start to get iffy when Alex learns that Cole doesn't get along with her best friends, Zack and Beth. He's jealous with her relationship with them, he wants her all to himself. As Cole starts to become violent, Alex doesn't know what to do. Does she sacrifice her friends for her relationship with Cole, or does she pick her friends over him. To me, it's an obvious choice. But it's a hard one for Alex to make.

I'm going to have to admit, Alex really annoyed me at the beginning of this book. If I was dating a guy that my friends didn't approve of, I would dump him in a heartbeat. But Alex thinks she's so in love that she's convinced that her friends will eventually come around. Someone needs to tell Alex that she should never, ever sacrifice her friends for a boy. Especially when you can tell that he isn't worth it. Other than the annoyance that I had with Alex, I thought this book was really well written. Jennifer Brown also covers a difficult topic, an abusive relationship. I think she does a good job of showing how a victim of abuse can still want to stay with the person abusing them. They just hope that things will go back to the way they were before, before everything got messed up. And it kind of breaks my heart, because as the reader, you know things will never be the same. Jennifer Brown likes to cover the difficult things, her first (I think it was her first, anyway) book, called Hate List, was about a school shooting, and the girl that was the best friend to the shooter. Another great book, if you're looking for something to read. All in all, if Jennifer Brown publishes another book, I think I will read it. She has proven herself to be a good writer.

What am I reading next? The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It's another BBYA book, and I don't think it comes out until next February, but I'm going to review it for you anyway :)


  1. I LOVED the movie when it came out in theaters! Not just because of R Patz, but because of the beauty of the film! So I wanted to read the book. Over vacation, I did read it and it was A-mazing! I totally agree with you that the pictures helped and the characters were VERY real. I practically blew through this book because one) I was on vacation and two) it was so easy to get wrapped up in the story. I think I even dreamt about it while I read it! And for Bitter End, it sounds awful. I understand girls really go through that, but c'mon. Get a little strength! Thanks, Amanda! Good reviews.

  2. IM IN YOUR BLOG!!!! I don't feel worthy, Apple Farm!!!

  3. You're so worthy Liz!!

    Brittany, I agree with you on that. I know it's hard for them, but girls in those situations should realize that they don't deserve to be treated that way. And thanks!