Short Review (A-Z Wednesday): Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A-Z Wednesday

This is a meme hosted at Reading at the Beach. To join, here's all you have to do: Go to your stack of books and find one whose title starts with the letter of the week. Post:
    1~ a photo of the book

    2~ title and synopsis
    3~ link(amazon, barnes and noble etc.)

The letter for this week is W. I chose Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I read this book in August 2009, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much that I chose it as my top read for 2009. Here's a synopsis, from the back of the book:

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.

Here's the review I posted on Goodreads:

I was initially hesitant to read this book because of the circus theme, which is really not one of my favorites. But I finally dug into it and thus discovered my favorite book to-date. What a true epic!

I loved every part of this book. Usually, being the tough critic I am, I manage to find some fault or the other with every book I read, even those that I rate 5 stars. I just can't find something to fault here. Every plot line worked for me. I cried and laughed wholeheartedly as I read it. The initial tragedy that befalls Jacob, his reactions to it, his intense love for animals, and his understandable inability to defend them when they are in trouble.

What I dislike in most fiction novels, is how even normal incidents appear so fake (and fictional) to me, and I am not able to pardon the author's use of 'literary license'! Even if there were some such events in this book, I have not been able to spot any such. It was a truly riveting read, from the first page to the very last!


 To see what "W" books other bloggers chose, visit this link.

5 comments:

Vicki said...

I've been wanting to read this book! Love your thoughts on it.

Thanks for playing.

hcmurdoch said...

I also enjoyed Water for Elephants! It's such a strange premise that works so well

Beth said...

I have good things about this book. Here is my "W" book.

jlshall said...

Haven't read this one, but I know it got a lot of really enthusiastic reviews. Love the cover!

steph ruther said...

I have put Sara Gruen's other books on my Amazon wish list and if I
don't receive them as gifts I will eventually buy them for myself. Her
written words come close to looking at old photograps in her novel
"Water for Elephants".
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