20 August 2008 ~ 1 Comment

(Book) Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen


I’m still working out how I feel about this book. It was so well written, goes seamlessly between the past and the present. The love story (was it between he and Marlena or he and Rosie?) was lyrically written. The author did an amazing job of pulling me back and forth between the two. I even shed a few tears over a few different things. I’m not an animal activist, but certain parts of this book made me very uncomfortable. The history of the circus is pretty well known. We know the animals were mistreated (heck, they are today too), but the author writes so well about this subject that I found it hard to swallow that lump in my throat. It’s obvious she did some major research into the subject matter.

When I originally read the description for this book, it was on my “skip it” list, but a few of my friends read it and told me I “had” to read it. I’m so glad they did. This was a beautiful book and definitely in my top 10 for the year.


As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

One Response to “(Book) Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen”

  1. Jaime Lee 3 July 2009 at 10:04 am Permalink

    One thing that really struck me was how well the female author writes in the voice of a man. And not just 'a man' but an elderly man and a young man. It was one of the best books I've ever read.

    People, don't let the title/description throw you. Just read it. You won't be sorry you did!

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