Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Title:  Water for Elephants

Author:  Sara Gruen

Paperback:  335 pages

ISBN:  9781565125605

…[Camel] comes to a stop in front of a stock car.  “Joe!  Hey, Joe!”

A head appears in the doorway.

“I got a First of May here.  Fresh from the crate.  Think you can use him?”

The figure steps forward onto the ramp.  He pushes up the brim of a battered hat with a hand missing three of its fingers.  He scrutinizes me, shoots an oyster of dark brown tobacco juice out the side of his mouth, and goes back inside.

Camel pats my arm in a congratulatory fashion.  “You’re in, kid.”

“I am?”

“Yep.  Now go shovel some shit.  I’ll catch up with you later.”

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, page 33

Jacob Jankowski was one week and his final exams away from being a vet.  Then tragedy hits, claiming the lives of his parents, and revealing that they’d mortgaged everything to keep their only child enrolled in Cornell University.  The weight and guilt of this bears down on young Jacob, and he just walks off from school… and keeps on walking.  When he finally stops for the night, he decides to jump aboard a passing train, only to find he’s just joined the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. 

Vividly imaginitive and well-researched, Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruenis a compelling, character-driven tale with the feel of magic and wonder we feel as children going to the circus for the first time.  It has a gritty realism to it and exposes the behind-the-scenes working and stratification of classes of the travelling circus.  Bosses, freaks, an exotic menagerie, performers, clowns and dwarfs, working men and roustabouts… in that order.  Everyone has a history, and a pervasive loneliness binds them all together.

I was enrapt by both the writing and the story in Water for Elephants.  Gruen, a female writer, captures the male perspective amazingly well.  The story takes place in two timelines:  Young Jacob at 23 and joining the circus, and the elderly Jacob, who is either 91 or 93 (he can’t remember anymore), in an assisted living facility, dealing with the emotions of being left behind -by his kids and his deceased wife- in a place where there’s baby food to eat, your neighbor poops his pants, and your desires and opinions are discounted and ignored.  I was carried along through the story, and it was over before I even knew it.

I loved Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen and give it 5 out of 5 stars 🙂

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Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages!  Presenting a video clip of Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth!

🙂

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VVW X-tra ~ 100 Best Movie Lines in 200 Seconds

Bored and clicking around, clicking on bookmarks I haven’t checked in awhile, I came across this viral video clip. I wanted to share it with everyone, and was afraid that if I saved it for an “official” VVW post, I’d forget (Like a LOT of bookmarked vids). Check it:

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Now, the person who made this video clip has boldly named it 100 BEST MOVIE LINES” but, as I watched it, I could think of better lines for the movies shown than the ones they featured, and other movies or lines that are completely neglected. It reminds me of the arguments over the 1001 books list.

Okay, of all the Wayne’s World quotes they coulda gone with, “Spew into this?” Really? Not “Ass sphincter says what?“What?” “Exactly.” or “She will be mine. Oh, yes! She WILL be mine.”  “Spew into this” just doesn’t even rank on the top 10 of that movie.

And “Royale with cheese” was the best they could do for Pulp Fiction?  Honestly, it doesn’t even rank in the memorable lines category.  “Le Big Mac” is better than that.  Jules’s line, “Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you” was really cool.  So is “Mmm-mmmm. That is a tasty burger.” and “You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down?”  And Butch’s line, “Zed is dead, baby.” just said it all.

And of course Mia’s line “Don’t you just love it when you come back from the bathroom and find your food waiting for you?” comes to mind whenever we eat out.

Ash saying “Groovy” in Army of Darkness is acceptable, then again… most of Ash’s lines make great sound clips.  It was a cool movie.  And “My Precious” is definitely priceless.  Everything HAL said was creepy and makes great clips, and “Heeeeeeeere’s JOHNNY!” from Jack Nicholson in The Shining will outlive the man himself, just like “No Wire HANGERS!” and “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” have outlived their original speakers.

I totally agree “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” is one of the best movie lines ever, and I recently watched There Will Be Blood, not surprisingly based on an Upton Sinclair book, and the whole milkshake bit sold Plainview as a demented baddie…  Sanity done left the mansion.

But now, where are the best quotes EVER?  like, where’s Gunny Sgt Hartman’s lines?  Granted, they are a bit… ooh, vulgar?  But it WAS Marine boot camp, after all.  Really, drop “Love means not having to say you’re sorry” (the most annoying and BS line in history) and give me “Sound off like you got a pair!” Or I could live without “I get older, they stay the same age.” (#24, I don’t even know the movie) and gimme Gunny saying “I didn’t know they could stack shit that high!” 

And what about BOONDOCK SAINTS?  Really!  Murphy’s line “We’re sorta like 7-Eleven. We’re not always doing business, but we’re always open.” is one of the best lines.  I’ll allow that the prayer couldn’t be included as it’s 100 best lines in 200 seconds.  I really need to buy the DVD… then I won’t have to keep making Netflix send it to me.

So which movie lines in this vid are your favorite? Which lines should have been included? Which ones should’ve been left out?

You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Title:  You Suck:  A Love Story

Author:  Christopher Moore

Hardback:  328 pages

Date Published:  2007

Publisher:  HarperCollins

ISBN:  9780060590291

MiscellaneousYou Suck is a sequel to Moore’s book Bloodsucking Fiends.

It turned out that superhuman vampire strength came in handy when shaving a thirty-five-pound cat.  After a couple of false starts, which had them chasing Chet the huge shaving-cream-covered cat around the loft, they discovered the value of duct tape as a grooming tool.  Because of the tape, they weren’t able to shave his feet.  When they were finished, Chet looked like a big-eyed, potbellied, protohuman in fur-lined, duct-tape space boots — the feline love child of Gollum and Dobby the house-elf.

I’m not sure we needed to shave all of him,” Tommy said, sitting on the bed next to Jody as they considered the bound and shaven Chet on the floor before them.  “He looks creepy.”

“Pretty creepy,” Jody said.  “You’d better drink.  Your wounds aren’t healing.”  All her scratches, bruises, and love bites were completely healed, and except for a fleck of shaving cream here and there in her hair, she was as good as new.

“How?” Tommy asked.  “How do I know where to bite him?”

“Try the neck,” Jody said.

You Suck:  A Love Story by Christopher Moore, pages 29-30

You Suck by Christopher Moore is a fun, light read about two young vampires in love who must face the difficult tasks of being UNDEAD in a day-slave world.  They face the HUNGER and must feed, they must deal with vampire killers, they have to find an apartment, and… for the LOVE of ALL things UNholy!  They have GOT to figure out a way to drink a cup of joe without the coffee making a forceful return trip to spooge on their shoes!

While, technically, this book is a sequel to Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends, it is more than capable of standing alone.  The past events are mentioned in a very natural way, so that you don’t have that sense of being late to the party. 

Some of the best qualities of You Suck is the unusual characters and the way they all mix together.  Take Blue for instance:  An aging Vegas hooker whose career-prolonging gimmick is that she’s painted blue from head to toe, inspiring the reoccurring line, “Didn’t you want to bone a smurf when you were a kid?”  And then there’s Abby Normal (day slave name, Allison Green) who is the  emo/goth/vamp-wannabe minion of Jody and Tommy, our romantic heroes.  And one of my favorite characters of the book is William, the dirty, fat, drinking/stinking bum with the 35-pound cat.  William makes his money sitting in high-pedestrian areas, holding a sign that says “I’m poor and I have a huge cat” and charging passersby to touch his huge cat. 

Another quality of You Suck that I enjoyed is Moore’s sense of humor, his sarcasm and his ease-of-reading writing style.  He doesn’t take himself too serious as a writer, and mixes up the story telling from omniscient 3rd person and “Diary of a Put Upon Goth (closet perkie) Girl,” the subjective point-of-view of Abby Normal, which provides the outsider-wanting-in view.  And Abby’s journal entries are so funny, complete with self-abasement and bunny-trails and updates on her sister’s head lice problem.

You Suck:  A Love Story by Christopher Moore was my first experience with the author, but it won’t be my last 🙂  In some ways, he reminds me of Janet Evanovich, who is one of my favorite “fun authors.”  I give You Suck 4 out of 5 stars 🙂  It’s a fun book you can sink your teeth into ^,…,^

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The following video just really makes me chuckle.  The guy in the vid could SoOOooOoo play Jared if they ever make a movie version.