Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen (Review)

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.

It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
I've been trying for ages to get ahold of this book from the library but it was ALWAYS gone until recently.  This was one of the times that I actually heard about the movie before I heard that it was a book so of course there was probably an entire line of people who wanted it ahead of me.

Anyways, I'm glad I still got my hands on it. It was mysterious, romantic, and thrilling.  I liked that it was really a full circle of Jacob's life.  I love hearing what happens after all the drama of their whole story cools off and how they are years or so later.

I did, however, forget that I didn't take this book out of the Young Adult section.  There was some language and some descriptive scenes that aren't necessarily for the younger crowd.  I feel like the little bit that I've heard about the movie didn't really give me the feel of the whole story.  I knew it would be romantic but I haven't seen a lot about it yet so I thought it would be the kind of love story you wouldn't mind letting your older kids go see. (Which it might be.  I haven't seen the movie yet.)  So I was kind of caught off guard with the language, mystery, and suspenseful part of the book.  I'm not sure if reading the book made me want to see the movie any more than I already did or not.  Maybe just because of the elephant. :)

Overall, Water for Elephants made me laugh and it made me sad.  It threw me through so many loops that I wish I could tell you but that would mean major spoilers and you need to read it yourself!  It was a good read.


  1. I saw the film before I read the book (even though I knew about the book in advance) because it was showing on a plane and I couldn't help myself. Really liked the film but the book was amazing. I listened to it on audio. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. I may have to go find the movie then! I'd love to actually see the things Rosie does. How could someone not like that animal!? Lol.