As an avid reader of compelling fiction novels, I felt that Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants" was an absolute treat to read. She effectively used humor without being too overwhelmingly with her wit. The novel is structured in a way - with a an elderly man telling the story of time spend in the circus - that enables to the reader to become completely immersed not only in the plot of the novel, but in the life of the "narrator".
Gruen use of language is absolutely impeccable: the entire novel is littered with a wonderful use of strong verbs and descriptive adjectives. She uses her ability to control diction in order to create brilliantly vivid imagery; she is constantly "painting pictures" in the reader's mind. The language that the characters use is raw and realistic, as well as appropriate for both times periods (present day and early 19Th century), which makes the story even more engaging.
The majority of the book takes place during the Great Depression, and the story follows a circus on its tour around the country. The setting lends its self to the creation and development of many interesting characters, and Gruen just this to create compelling characters that have thrilling interactions between each other. The uniqueness and originality of the characters makes the overall novel that much more enticing to read quickly. This book is definitely a page turner!
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Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob's life with this circus. Sara Gruen spares no detail in chronicling the squalid, filthy, brutish circumstances in which he finds himself. The animals are mangy, underfed or fed rotten food, and abused. Jacob, once it becomes known that he has veterinary skills, is put in charge of the "menagerie" and all its ills. Uncle Al, the circus impresario, is a self-serving, venal creep who slaps people around because he can. August, the animal trainer, is a certified paranoid schizophrenic whose occasional flights into ...