Water for Elephants
An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.
When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus strug ...more
First, the main "heroine," Marlena, is incredibly flat & boring. The narrator/main character, Jacob, is clearly infatuated with her, but I'm not sure why other than she looks good in pink sequins. She's married to her a ...more
I really wanted to like this book. I think my low opinion is partially my fault, because I drove into the story with high expectations due to rave reviews. I need to learn not to do that.
The beginning of this novel was excellent. A Ivy League dropout, who formerly studied to be a vet, runs away and joins the circus. The time period? The Depression and Prohibition America - a historical era of uncertainty and chaos. I was looking for an intriguing tale of a ...more
I picked up Water for Elephants after seeing the movie. You know, the one with "that Twilight guy" - who for a change was allowed to smile. And to have other facial expressions besides "permanently constipated". The math is simple:
Drum roll: Rosie the elephant works better than Ex-Lax!
But on to the book now. In addition to Jacob Jankowski's "love affair" with Rosie the elephant (and a noticeably less sweet affair with Marlena-the-bland-chick) we get a parallel story of J
When I finished reading Water for Elephants, goose bumps covered my skin. Now this is a good book! Immediately engrossed, I had a hard time putting it down as I read the story of Jacob Jankowski and his reminiscence of days with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth--otherwise known as a train circus in 1930's America.
A talented writer and storyteller, Sara Gruen takes readers on a bumpy and tense train ride through history. This tale defines Americana. Ther ...more
I’ve been reading all the criticisms of this book in an attempt to organize my opinions after reading this book. It ...more
The glitz and grit, glam and sham of depression-era circus life limps along in Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” with little aid from her shoddy prose, predictable plot and underdeveloped metaphor. Although the book has a flashy appearance and is easily digested, it offers less nutritional value than promised.
When his parents suddenly and tragically die, Jacob Jankowski quits veterinarian school at Cornell University just before graduation and finds hi ...more
We were taken once by my grandparents when I was about five. First, last and only time. My parents hate the idea of the circus and scorned it with all the pretentious uninterest that would likely scar their children for life, causing them to grow up embittered, solitary and convicted to write scathing, snarky reviews on GoodReads as a form or self expression in order to share their own mis ...more
Apparently I love reading books set in the circus, who knew? The Night Circus was one of my favourite books from early last year and now Water for Elephants has joined it on my LOVE list!
I’m a sucker for stories that weave back and forth between the past and present day, it might just be one of my favourite literary techniques. Jacob Jankowski, who is in his 90s and currently residing in a nursing home, recounts the memories of his youth when he joine ...more
It's the 1930's, in the midst of the great depression and prohibition. At 23, Jacob Jankowski is just days away from taking his final exams at Cornell and becoming a veterinarian. He plans to join his fathers practice. Then he gets the devastating news that both his parents were killed in an automobile accident. They were behind on their mortgage and both their house and his fathers practice belong to the bank. There's nothing left for Jacob, no home to go to anymore. In a daze, he walk ...more
I went into this book with basically no expectations.
Outside of the preview I saw for the movie starring Robert Pattinson & Reese Witherspoon years ago, I didn't even know what this book was about. Turns out this is a story is set in the 1920's & told from the dual perspectives of Jacob Jankowski when he is 23 & 90 (or maybe 93).
On one hand, the story follows young Jacob right after his parents are both taken from him in a freak car accident. Laden with grief ...more
Seriously. Don't buy this book. I know the cover is pretty, and the title is intriguing, and the summary is enticing. It's all razzle-dazzle. Kinda like a circus itself.
But, it wasn’t aw ...more
The novel was split between pas ...more
The subject - a vet recalling his days in a failing 1920s circus - would've interested me if the writing had been up to par. It wasn't horrible, just amateurish at times. Also, the dialogue could've been better. If the characters sounded more like they came from the '20s it might've drawn me more into the story, but they sounded like contemporaries who like to use old timey jargon. Also, I can't get do ...more
Why do I give this a boo rating? Mostly for the dialogue. The author tries to explain 1930s carnival vernacular through a green carnie's questions about the world around him. And the questions come out over simplified and make for unrealistic and stilted conversations.
Sara Gruen also tries to intersperse a 90-yea ...more
Craig enjoyed the story more than I did and gave it four stars, while I gave it just three. We both enjoyed the alternating perspectives, from that of Jacob when he’s in his early 20’s and working for the Benzini Brothers circus to the old Jacob, when he’s 90 (or 93) and living in a nursing home. We loved the large cast ...more
When the circus comes to town and sets up it ...more
Every so often, a book comes along you enjoy it from start to finish. I feel this way about, Sara Gruen's, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. Yes, there was a few tough sections to read - mainly the animal abuse, but, how can a book about a 1930's traveling circus not show the reader what it was like for animals. As the reader, I want to feel what the animals feel. I thought the book was well-written, and I enjoyed the characters.
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