Saturday, 19 November 2011

Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen

Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
Publisher: Two Roads
Published: 7 Feb 2008

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town.

Jacob, a veterinary student who almost earned his degree, is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen is absolutely Amazing. I couldn't put it down. It starts off with an elderly (Ninety or Ninety-Three) Jacob Jankowski complaining about how his life has became tedious since being placed in a nursing home by his equally elderly children, he then goes on by going into day dreams about his past which is how we delve into his life aboard the Flying Squadron, the train for performers who work on The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show On Earth. Jacob becomes the circus vetinerian, and also finds himself completely in love with Marlena, a beautiful woman who has an act with the horses. Without giving too much away about how the story unfolds, we go back and forth between the old and young Jacob and find out about his struggles not only working with the circus but also with his life since his wife passed away. we also find out about Rosie the Elephant who becomes part of the show and the extraordinary relationship she and Jacob have together and also the good times Jacob had aboard the Flying Squadron.

I found it very easy to enjoy this book as I found I could bond with the main characters as we seemed to have something in common. This book flowed in and out of Jacobs memoried really well and at times i found myself feeling sorry for Jacob and also laughing out loud at Rosie's antics.

The book is well written and gives a great account of how it must have been to be a part of the travelling circuses of the early 1900's. I would recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of reading it as it is a story that i will carry with me for many years to come.

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