Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reading Update: April 22

Sara Gruen -- Water for Elephants

I enjoyed this book, but frankly, I expected a heckuva lot more from it, with all the press hype it's gotten. Basic Plot: Jacob, a 90-something man coping with the indignities of being shipped away to a nursing home by his caring-but-detached children, recollects his younger days working for the Benzini Brothers Circus. What I really enjoyed about the story was Gruen's prose -- it was quite lovely and lyrical at moments. She paints a vivid and enjoyable picture of circus life back when circuses were the height of entertainment, as well as of a man at the end of his life, grasping for meaning in what he once loved. But the narrative lacked depth, I think. I enjoyed the experience of reading it, but it didn't really make me think about anything outside of its bounds. Ultimately, I thought it was a cute story and not a whole lot more.

David Ambrose -- The Man Who Turned into Himself

Eh. Mediocre at best. The story begins on an ordinary day in the Hamilton household, with the main character, Rick, interacting with his loving wife and young son. Several hours later, he rushes out of an important meeting, suddenly sure that something terrible has happened to his wife. Rick then finds himself swerving back and forth between two parallel universes, unsure what is real and what is just a delusion brought on by a tragic accident. Ambrose clearly wants to explore some interested theories in quantum physics and their potential implications in the real world. He wants to make us question our reality and think about how we become the people we are. All he actually made me want to do, though, was get to the end so I could move on to something more well-written and interesting.

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