Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

Historical, Romance
$14.95 with 20% off
331 Pages
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Released: April 2007

6/5 Stars

“And you want to know what Uncle Al did when the hippo died? He swapped out her water for formaldehyde and kept on showing her.  For two weeks we traveled with a pickled hippo.”

**Note: my review will not do this book justice! LOL. I loved the book so much I’m try not to let myself give too much away!**

My Description:
Water for Elephants is a novel bringing us back to the world of the traveling circus in the early 1900’s when they traveled by train.  Jacob Jankowski is a young man in his early 20’s with dreams of becoming a veterinarian like his father.  Very close to the final day for his testing to become licensed his parents die in a car accident and his entire life changes.  Running away from his problems he ends up jumping on a train and this one-act takes him on the ride of his life.  Jacob becomes a worker for a traveling circus as their very own vet and in the process falls in love with Marlena, one of the shows acts.  The problem, she’s a married woman.  Along their travels the circus owner buys an Elephant, Rosie, in hopes to become the greatest act in all the history of circuses…

Water for Elephants is a magical book! It brought me back to when I was a child dreaming of being a circus performer.  The way Gruen describes the circus and it’s acts really paints a picture in your mind and you feel like you are right there with Jacob the entire time.  I loved how Gruen cuts back and forth between Jacob as an elderly man in a home remembering when he was on a circus to when Jacob was in his early 20’s on the circus.  You love Jacob in both ages, especially as a  feisty elderly man! I love when Gruen brought Jacob in as an elderly man, he brings in some comedy as well as makes you understand how some elderly people feel when they are in a nursing home.

Gruen knows how to writer her characters.  You fall in love with so many of them!  Walter, Jacob’s roommate on the train. Camel, the man who takes Jacob in under his wing when Jacob first jumps on the train.  The lovely Marlena, Jacobs love interest.  Rosie, the beautiful 53-year-old-elephant.  You also don’t like some of the characters like Uncle Al, the circus owner, and August, Marlena’s husband.  Trust me, there are times you just want to jump through the book and beat them yourselves!

I absolutely fell in love with this book.  I had two of my good friends telling me that I must read it because it was just that good and I was not disappointed.  I do believe that anyone who has an interest in any genre would love this book!  It’s a very fast read and you don’t want to put it down. Again, it’s just magical! It leaves you smiling and happy.  This book will be on my bookshelf forever and will be picked up several times for a reread! 😀

Oh, you can buy the Kindle version of this book for just a little over $4.00 but from what I’ve heard you don’t get the awesome circus pictures throughout the book.  Gruen places a real circus picture at the beginning of each chapter that is from when Jacob is in his 20’s on the circus.  It’s awesome! There is only one chapter that didn’t have a circus pic infront of it when it should have, 😦 but really they are great.  If you buy the kindle version, the next time you’re in the bookstore pick up the paperback version and flip through and check out the pictures at least…they’re fun!  😀


8 responses to “Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

  1. oooh, this sounds good. It’s a great review! smiles…

    • Thanks Christi…I think I waited a little to long to write the review so I don’t feel like it does the book any justice! As long as it gets some people to try the book out then I’m happy. 😀

  2. I’d rather read the book, but doubt that will happen, will see the movie instead since it’s out and it’s handy to do that

    • The movie is handy but I don’t think I would have felt as attached to it if I hadn’t read the book first. The movie doesn’t give you any time to make a connection to the characters, it doesn’t show everything that happens with Rosie the elephant. Oh it’s such a great book. I’ll be reviewing the Movie tomorrow and then doing a comparison review to compare the book and the movie on Thursday. You’ll have to check them out and tell me what you think. 😀

  3. I plan on reading this book at some point. Thanks for the review. I’m so glad to hear you loved it so much. 🙂

  4. Oooh, 6 out of 5 stars! Nice. I have heard the book is better than the movie. I really want to check this out. Thank you for the great review hon, you did it justice, no worries 🙂

    • I’m so happy to hear that! I really enjoyed it. It just captivated me and made me feel like I was in the circus watching all of the events unfold. It probably doesn’t hurt that I have a very active imagination. 😀

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