Book Review: The Shape of Water
By Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
It’s the 1960s and Elisa Esposito works as a night janitor at an aerospace research center in Baltimore. Elisa cannot speak, she can hear and uses sign language to communicate. Elisa has two friends – Zelda (her co-worker) and Giles (her neighbor). One day an amphibious man is brought in to be studied and dissected afterwards. Richard Strickland is the one who caught him. Elisa and the amphibious man fall in love and she will risk everything to set him free.
Below are some spoilers; you have been warned.
Here are the main themes I saw:
Elisa’s friendship with both Zelda and Giles is tested when the two (Zelda and Giles) have to decide whether or not they will assist Elisa with helping her man escape.
Elisa Esposito is stuck. She is a woman and her choices of work are very limited especially since she cannot talk. Elisa is stuck at a dead end job doing the same thing over and over.
Zelda Fuller is stuck. Zelda is a black woman who dreams of saving enough money to open her own cleaning company and attain a better life.
Giles is stuck. Giles is a gay man during a time in history where homosexuality is illegal and you could end up in jail. Giles was fired from his job due to his sexual preferences and he is trying to make a living for himself and he stuck with limited options.
Amphibious man is stuck. He is a wild God like being who is powerful, mysterious and stuck in a tank with no way out.
Richard Strickland is stuck. He is stuck under the thumb of his boss (General Hoyt) and he hopes that by seeing through the research being done on the amphibious man, that he can finally be free of his boss.
Dr. Hoffstetler is stuck. He is a researcher tasked with studying the amphibious man. Dr. Hoffstetler is stuck having to pass along secrets to his Soviet handler……….YES he is a reluctant spy.
Elaine Strickland is stuck. She is stuck in a marriage to Richard Strickland where she tries her best to be a “good wife” which means cooking for her husband, cleaning, ironing his clothes and taking care of their children. Eventually Elaine gets a secret job as a secretary and she works, takes care of the kids and comes back home in time to make dinner and take care of her man.
Elisa falls in love with the Amphibious man and because of that love she follows through a daring plan to set him free. It turns out that the Amphibious man falls in love! I was worried that the love could have been one sided since Elisa is free and he is a prisoner. I knew that the Amphibious man loved Elisa when she gets shot and he immediately kills the person who hurt Elisa then he saves her life. I loved the part where the Amphibious man turns Elisa’s neck scars into gills, thus enabling Elisa to breath underwater just like him.
All in all – I loved the book!!!!