Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: 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 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.

I decided to read Water for Elephants because I discovered that Robert Pattinson is going to star in the movie version of it. As you may or may not know, I am a HUGE fan of Robert Pattinson. I definitely like him more than I should. Robert Pattinson aside, I am so glad I read this book. I did not know what to expect, but it was absolutely amazing!

The main character, Jacob, is so easy to like. He has lived an extremely interesting life. In the beginning, he is a veterinarian student who is about to take his final test to become a full-fledged vet. Unfortunately for him, a tragedy claims his parents' lives, and he becomes too emotionally broken to even start the test. He ends up jumping on a train that happens to be a circus train, so he is practically thrown into this world as the circus vet.

I really loved this book for so many reasons. One, Jacob is a vet (sort of), which I love because that is what I want to do. You can obviously tell he loves animals. The characters were complex and intriguing. The bad guys like August and Uncle Al had so many levels to them that they were often hard to read. Rosie, the elephant, was probably one of my favorite characters. Even if she is an elephant, she was so funny and smart! She definitely made the story so much better because I could not help but love her.

Water for Elephants is an amazing book. Sara Gruen is such a talented writer that it is no wonder I love this book so much. With the action, forbidden love, hard choices, loss, and so much more, Water for Elephants is one of the best books I have ever read. It captivated me from page 1. I absolutely love this book, and it is now one of my favorites.

Rating: 5/5

Swords are for fighting,


  1. I concur. I loved this book with everything I've got. I can't wait to read this author's new book.

  2. I started this one a while back. I ended up crying so much I put it down. Her writing is beautiful and I vow to finish this book some day.

  3. great write up! I don't read a lot of fiction of this type, but not only do I have a weakness for circus freak stories (even if it's just the circus and no freaks), I'm interested in this because of my irrational crush on Robert Pattinson! THanks for letting me know that no matter how good the movie is, the book is better.

  4. I saw this linked to the RMR page and I had to look at it. I actively avoided this book this summer because my mother-in-law is so in love with Robert Pattinson and she kept talking about this book. (It drove me crazy.)

    However, the cover is gorgeous and the premise is interesting, I think I need to read this one.