Book vs. Movie: Water for Elephants

Book vs. Movie: Water for Elephants

Time for another Book vs. Movie! This time it’s Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It’s the story of Jacob, who runs away to the circus during the Depression when his life falls apart around him. There, he works as the show’s vet, and falls ever more in love with Marlena, the star of the circus and beautiful wife of the temperamental ringmaster August. When the circus acquires an elephant for a new act, it changes everything.

I read the book back in October on the way home from New York – between the airport layover and actual flights, I finished it in one day. To say I liked it might be understating things. And this past week, I finally got around to watching the movie. Happily, it was a pretty faithful adaptation, and I liked it, too. But here’s a break-down of which format did what better:




  • A really good read that pulls on your heartstrings and makes you laugh.
  • A good length – not too quick, not too long/slow.
  • The ending – satisfying, and all wrapped up.
  • Explains circus lingo in an unobtrusive way.
  • Did a better job of painting a picture of Depression-era America.
  • Christoph Waltz – he played his character (August) perfectly. And I’m guessing playing a charming sociopath isn’t easy. But man. He was at turns likable and scary, just like in the book.
  • Really good job of condensing the whole book into 2 hours while hitting all of the most important plot points.
  • Still a good ending, though I found it less believable in this format.
  • Beautiful cinematography and great costumes.


  • It jumped between present-day Jacob and his memories a bit too much. I preferred how they did it in the movie, with just a small intro and closure with him as an old man.
  • Robert Pattinson. I’m normally just indifferent to him as an actor (I don’t hold Twilight against him or anything), but I didn’t think he was the best fit for Jacob, the main character. Though he did pull off the Polish well.
  • It kind of glossed over some of the side storylines regarding Jacob’s fellow circus workers (pay issues, illness from jake, red-lighting). They were present, but not given the attention they got in the book.

Rosie (the elephant) was adorable in both. Overall, I really liked both the book and the movie, and I think you’ll get an equally good story experience from either format.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? What did you think?

I give both 4/5 stars.

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Water for Elephants

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Master Bathroom Makeover

As promised last week, here is the new master bathroom with it’s mini makeover! New paint job, new towel rack hardware, new switch plates, and a new decor piece. This didn’t get as much of a makeover as the bedroom, as I didn’t get a new shower curtain or towels (yet), but it still feels like a new room. Take a look: Yes, that’s carpet in our bathroom. I know, it’s weird. Whenever we get around to doing new floors, this is near the top of my list (right after the kitchen). But overall I love how the new color […]

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Tuesday Treasure Trove

Tuesday Treasure Trove: this week's round-up of read-worthy links.

Nifty product of the week: Plantable Pencils. Grow an herb when you’re done writing. America is no-vacation nation. “The US is the only developed economy without legally mandated vacations and it’s costing us more than just money… People who do not take vacations are more at risk of stress, job burnout, depression & premature death.” Girls Who Code offers a free Summer program to teach high school girls about computer science & coding. Cool. Why major creative breakthroughs happen in your late thirties. Good to know, as I approach 30 this year. How I Tricked Myself Into Being Brave. 5 […]

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Bits & Pieces

Bits & Pieces

1. The quasi-in-laws are in town, which means last week’s cleaning frenzy has been followed by lots of cooking, eating out, watching movies/TV, and checking out Austin things like Torchy’s Tacos and the new aquarium – which is not great, but not terrible. It has lots of ‘petting’ tanks, so that was cool. I didn’t take today and tomorrow off like the boy did, so I’m home doing work stuff and blog stuff while they’re out seeing South Congress and the capital and things I’ve already seen. I like his family, but after a few days of house guests, it’s […]

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Master Bedroom Makeover

I’ve been talking about painting rooms in the house for a few weeks now. I got sidelined for a little bit with my back being hurt, but this past week I finished up all of the little touches in the master suite. And today, I’m showing you our transformed master bedroom! A new paint job, new bedding, new switch plates, and new gallery walls, and I’m already loving the ‘new’ room. I’d still like to get some curtains – something light and breezy, semi-transparent – but that will come later. I went with all neutral, because we had a mix […]

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Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay As you might guess from the title, this is another dip into Austen-inspired fiction. It is the story of Samantha Moore, a survivor of the Chicago foster system, who has found solace and protection by hiding behind her favorite characters from literature (including Austen’s). But now she has been offered a scholarship to journalism school by a charitable foundation, with the condition that she write regular letters to the organization’s founder to keep him apprised of her progress (and help draw her out of her literary shell). It is to be a one-way correspondence, […]

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What I Wore: White Pants Copycat

That’s me being a copycat on the left, and my inspiration on the left (original pin here). As part of my second Pinterest Challenge, I picked two outfits that I wanted to try my hand at recreating, and this is the first one I’ve tackled. I had pretty much the exact pieces needed for this recreation: olive v-neck, white skinnies (though mine are cords), and brown boots. There’s even a rare appearance of my hair down and not in an updo of some sort! I know. I’m just going crazy over here. I will say, I think it was a […]

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