I just finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I was mesmerized by the depression era circus story - the characters, the class stratification, the animals, the camaraderie, the danger, the fear, and uncertainty- and the story of a 90ish year old man who is dissatisfied with his assisted living arrangement. No, this is not high literature, but it is a good read for adults. I know ya'll will think I am a total prude (especially after some of my other posts), but can nothing be left to the imagination? I can imagine that the cooch house was real in some of the seedier circuses and that in order to make the book believable some of that reference needs to be included. But, I don't need a play by play of Jacob's humiliation.
Overlooking being banged in the head with sexual details, I think this book, like The Devil Wears Prada, is just asking for a movie. The texture, color, and movement of the Big Top lends itself to The Big Screen. I would love to see the right actors and lighting in this obvious screen play.
When I was young, I wanted to be in the circus. I used to practice tightrope walking (though the rope was not as taut as it could be and I was never successful) and acrobatics and my imagination took me on many journeys. The circus of my imagination is certainly denuded of any romance by the reality of the violence and lack of consistency shown in Water for Elephants. Though Gruen is careful to say many times that Ringling Brothers is not as sleazy as her fictionalized circus story, you have to realize that a show is just that - a show. The reality of the life behind the show can never be as glamorous as the production.