Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Water for Elephants: Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants
By Sara Gruen
Published by Algonquin Books
Released on April 9, 2006
Genre: Fiction, Movie

The Story:
(from GoodReads.com)Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

My Review: In the sprite of the movie that premiered Friday April 20 I finally went and purchased the book Water for Elephants. It was been recommended to me and on my "to read" list for a long while now. After reading other reviews and recommendations I have found that either you loved or hated this book. I am in the loved category. I will be going to see the movie this Saturday, so I will follow up with the movie review too!

Some of the general complaints on the book do applied, the writing was at some times shallow, elementary and weak, but it did not stop me from crying, cheering thorough out. The book alternated between Jacob as 90 or 93, he says he is not real sure, to when he was 23 and by chance, or some could call it fate, that he joined the circus. It is part historic, looking at the Circus's of the 1920's / 30's that traveled by train. It was a love story, not just between Jacob and Marlena but also between Jacob and the love he fostered with the animals, especially the elephant named Rosie.

This story was excellent for the story itself, but also for the lovely historical retelling of circus life and the few old pictures at the end of each chapter from the circus days! I can't say much more without giving away the good parts, so I will leave you with this.... You have to read this book before you see the movie, it will be criminal if you don't... Excellent Reading.

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