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?
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 freshens things up. This shade of royal blue is just so pretty, and really makes the white seem brighter. But I have to say, this room was a PAIN to paint. Do you see all those doors? One to our walk-in closet, one to the separate toilet, one to the linen closet, and then the doors to the master bedroom. And each and every one of those had to be taped around – twice (once for the blue coat, once for the trim). I swear the taping took longer than anything else. But I love how it turned out.
What do you think of a darker blue for a bathroom?
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.”
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 nice to have the place to myself just for a few hours. When they get back, his mom is teaching me to make jam, so that’ll be cool! Just have to finish up all my work/blog stuff before then.
2. I can’t believe February is almost over. Like, it turns to March this coming weekend guys. That’s nuts.
3. I had thought I was on board to work with this awesome event planning company here in town. Their go-to graphic designer was moving on to a different opportunity, and they said they were looking to put together a team of freelancers, etc. I went in for an interview and it went well, and they said they’d email me stuff to get the ball rolling soon. But they didn’t. And now their website lists a new in-house graphic designer. I don’t know what changed or why they couldn’t just let me know and be honest, but it’s pretty disappointing. Between this and not winning the bid for design work on a national magazine earlier this year (the board chose to keep working with their current designer, even though the editor who invited me to bid was ready for a change), I’m feeling pretty discouraged. These weren’t even blind bids – both sought me out, which is usually a good sign they’re serious about working with you/like your work. I’d really like to land a big client or partnership with consistent work so I can get out of the freelance feast-or-famine cycle.
4. I’ve got two conferences I want to go to next year: Blogcation and the Creative Freelancer Business Conference (part of the larger HOW Design conference). I don’t know if I can swing either one financially, but I’d like to. Are any of you fellow bloggers considering Blogcation?
5. I know I just redesigned the blog less than a year ago, but I’m feeling like I want to revamp it again. We’ll see.
That’s all I’ve got today. What are you up to this week?
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 of browns and blacks already with furniture and some of the picture frames. This paint color is called ‘Rustic Taupe’ and it’s pretty much the perfect shade of gray. And a lot of those pieces in the gallery walls are simply fabric-covered shoe box lids – such simple and cheap decor. Take a look!
And of course, a picture of Sienna for good measure, because whenever I take photos indoors she’s always poking her nose around. What’s behind those double doors, you ask? That’d be our master bathroom, which also got a makeover – stay tuned next week for that reveal!
What do you think? Have you ever tackled a room makeover where the room is already full of stuff?
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, more like a journal, and to preserve privacy/help Sam feel comfortable, she is to address the letters to ‘Mr. Knightley’. That’s a character from Austen’s Emma, if you didn’t know, and pretty much the most unassailably gentlemanlike character in all her works.
Aside from that tie-in, this book is less about Austen or trying to be a modern interpretation of Austen, and more about a broken soul learning to heal and trust again. It’s told almost entirely through letters, up until the last chapter or so. For me, the format really worked. With Sam writing in first person, you get a real connection, and she is very relatable (in personality, if not in life circumstances). The other characters really come to life in her writing, and you get the uniquely vulnerable telling of events that you’d find in a journal, as she tries and fails and sometimes succeeds in overcoming her past and the walls she’s built. I did have a few issues with the very end (mainly in that it ended up being predictable/not surprising) but overall, it’s just a really good story. So don’t let the all-told-in-letters format turn you away.