Saturday, March 12, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act
(Summary taken from goodreads).
that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival

            Water for Elephants is my favorite book and that's saying something. I love most of the books I read, but not many of them make it onto my favorite list. I absolutely devoured this novel. I had borrowed the book from the library and then as soon as I finished it, I went out and bought it. Strange? I know, but it was that good! It’s one of those books that I want to keep and read over and over again. I fell in love with it from page one and from there on, I couldn’t stop. This was one of those books that just grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go. It was also one of those books that didn’t have a dull moment. The action took off right from the prologue.
            The storyline was fantastic. It really gave an inside view to circus life during the great depression, a time when they were extremely popular. Basically, the story was told through the memories of Jacob Jankowski, who is now ninety or ninety three, he can’t remember. After a few chapters on his life in the circus, it would switch back to his life in the nursing home. I thought this was an interesting perspective, because as I read, I sympathized with both Jacob as a young and old man. The story was also pretty out there. It focused on many of the “freaks” of the circus, but by doing that, it brought the reader into another fascinating world.
            The characters were amazing! I loved Jacob. He was probably my favorite out of all of them. He had this innocence about him, but at the same time he was willing to fight for what he loved. All at once, Jacob's life took a turn for the worst. You just can’t help but feel bad for him. Marlena was such a sweetheart. She cared about everyone, which is something I really admired about her. Yet, this same quality was a bit of a downfall for her. She never wanted to see anyone get hurt. I would say more, but then I would be giving away some spoilers, so you’ll just have to read it and find out what I mean. There was also August, Marlena’s husband. In some aspects, he could be considered the antagonist, but he didn’t bother me. Sure, he could be quite a jerk at times, but I thought he enhanced the story. He definitely added to the drama of it all. Finally, there’s Rosie the elephant. She was adorable!  Gruen gives her such a sense of humor; it’s actually kind of cute. From the moment she was introduced, you can’t help, but love her. She was just that great!
            The writing style was phenomenal. Gruen provided the perfect amount of description. Sometimes writers add too much and then it just drags on and sometimes they don’t add enough! However, Gruen did a fantastic job. There was a bit of obscenity throughout the book, but it wasn’t obscene for the point of being obscene. It was woven into the storyline and belonged there. Overall, Gruen had me on my seat the entire time. I just had to know what happened next!
            So my suggestion: READ THIS BOOK! Seriously, it’s amazing. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great story that truly reaches in and touches your heart. The characters interact wonderfully and like I said, Rosie is adorable :) So be sure to check this one out! I highly recommend it!

Also, Water for Elephants has been made into a movie!!! It features Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson and is set to come out April 22nd. I'm super excited for the movie and can't wait to see it! Check out the trailer below :)


  1. Great review! I can't wait to read this one :)

  2. I so have to read this book before the movie arrives on screens !! It sounds really good ;)
    Thanks for the review !!

  3. Ahhhh, I loved this book. What a great review!!

  4. Hi! Great review: this book looks brilliant!

    I love the Sherlock Holmes! He's just brilliant!

    And I'm following you now!

  5. Thank you for the review! I've had the book for a while now and still haven't found the desire to read it...for some reason...but I hear EVERYONE loves it, so I should just start reading it...and I definitely will have to read it before I can see the movie, because books are always so much better :)

  6. I really want to read this book before the movie comes out! I'm glad you loved it. Cool blog! Thanks for stopping by mine.


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