Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cuckoos and Elephants

As you may have heard before, i consider myself a 'reader'. Perhaps not a voracious reader, but i do like to read for half an hour before bed most nights, and quite often will pack my book in my handbag and read during my lunch break at work. Knowing this, my very thoughtful workmates bought me a gift voucher for my birthday, to be spent at a local bookshop, and thanks to them, i've been able to read two great books in the past month: " Water For Elephants " by Sara Gruen and " One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest " by Ken Kesby.

Somehow i missed all the hype over " Water For Elephants " when it was first released but had heard recent mumurings about a movie version being when its cover caught my eye in the bookstore, i thought it was better late then never to jump on the " ...Elephants " bandwagon. Or circus train, as it were - set in the American South during the Depression, " ... Elephants " is the story of a young (almost ) vet who finds himself caught up in all the drama of a travelling circus ( the Big Top, the backlot, naked dancing girls, surly midgets, love, hate, trust...and an elephant ). I thought it was really well written, and the dynamic between the main characters really kept me involved. I cant say that the casting of Robert Pattinson as the lead character Jacob has me overly enthused, but i think Reese Witherspoon as Marlena will be absolutely spot on.

And then there was " One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest ". I'd seen the movie years ago but it never occurred to me to go out and read the book - until i saw it amongst the Classic Penguin selections ( As an aside, i love the Classic Penguin concept - classic reads for $9.95? I've probably bought at least 8 so! ). I thought seeing as it had been a while since i'd watched the film, i'd read the book and then do a refresh of the movie. I really enjoyed the book - i think you get a much better sense of just how calculating Nurse Ratched is from the book, than you do from the movie. In the movie yes, she seems cold, but not much more than that - in the book, she's portrayed as a real bitch who lauds her power over the men on her ward. You really hate her, and i dont get that from the movie. What you do get from the movie is a brilliant performance from Jack Nicholson - having seen the movie first, i couldnt help but picture him as Randall McMurphy when i was reading the book. Verdict? The book wins out over the film...but only just.

Now all i have to do is wait till " Water For Elephants " is released as a motion picture in May, take my mum along ( its totally going to be a mum/daugher, sisters, girlfriends kind of movie... ) and then do the whole book vs movie thing with it too....


  1. Water for Elephants was brilliant wasn't it. I got it for Christmas a couple of years ago.

  2. I just finished reading Water For Elephants and I thought it was great. I think Robert Pattinson will make a great Jacob, but I'm a little hesitant on Reese Witherspoon as Marlena. I pictured her as a brown haired, frail girl. I guess we'll see how she does. I can't wait to see the movie.

  3. Thought Id jump in and add that I saw the preview and it looks fabulous, I actually think Robert Pattinson is actually going to surprise us in this role. I had my doubts but after the preview Im curious.

  4. You've persuaded me to go any buy Ken Kesey's book. I've been a long-time fan of the film - in fact, I use it as a teaching aid (I teach psychology) but after what you said, I think I might have missed out by not reading the book as well. Thanks for helping me put that right.