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Water for Elephants: A Novel

87 Ratings: 3.3
Book

Jacob Jankowski says: "I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other." At the beginning ofWater for Elephants, he is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn't always like this, however, because Jacob … see full wiki

Author: Sara Gruen
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Date Published: April 9, 2007
31 reviews about Water for Elephants: A Novel
review by . September 27, 2007
In the great depression, a young man drops out of Veterinary school and joins a travelling circus. The story unfolds in flashbacks from his present day existence in a nursing home. The author takes us into a world of cruelty, privation and danger, which is nevertheless full of adventure and the possibility of love. The story grabs you quickly. I couldn't put this one down. I told my friends about it, and the ones who actually started it were hooked too!    The writer creates …
review by . September 04, 2007
This book was such a fabulous read. I literally felt as if I was part of the circus. A very charming tale. Totally recommend.
review by . July 16, 2007
On the simplest level, all I can say is that it didn't amuse me and I couldn't force myself to finish it. But I'm a "hard sell" for fiction, and I can see by the other reviews that many people loved it. Lucky them!  On a slightly more analytic level, I'd say that what prevented me from enjoying the book was the "voice" of the narrator, who is supposed to be a man in his nineties remembering his youth in the circus. I'm a man approaching seventy, with some circus experiences as a teenager …
review by . July 13, 2007
Loved it, loved it, loved it. Gruen 'feels' what it must be like to retain a facile mind but be trapped in an aging body. What do we have left? Our memories--the 'pictures' we have made through life that are filed away in our memory banks. Props to Gruen for her obvious deep research into the time period, especially what circus life was really like during the depression (and beyond). Her characters are engaging and true to form, and she uses them to weave a wonderful tale. A great read.
review by . March 26, 2007
It's been a long time since a novel about circus life has been published, and this excellent book certainly makes up for all of those missing years. It is a well told tale that is, in part, humorous, tragic, romantic and heartbreaking. The book uses the same narrative device as "Little Big Man", that is, a very old gentleman remembering the exciting and adventurous days of his youth, and the circus he accidentally joined. The characters are extremely well drawn, even the minor ones, and I'm sure …
review by . March 07, 2007
From the first few pages of Water for Elephants, you can sense that this is going to be more than just a good book; it's going to worm its way, subtly at first, and then more fiercely, into your soul and hang on long after the last page closes. You're going to want to gulp it all down quickly but be advised that you will not have time to savor the rich writing and brilliant characterizations unless you slow down and absorb the tale.    Water for Elephants is set in a traveling …
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