Water for Elephants: A Novel

Sara Gruen
Algonquin Books , English
133 ratings
  • amanda.j.winchell added a soundbite 3 years ago
    Really enjoyed reading this book. It sucked me in I felt like I was there experiencing his life.
  • Sarah Seaton Myers added a soundbite 3 years ago
    I read the book before watching the movie and was surprised at the drama involved in this book. <3
  • SuperGirly added a soundbite 3 years ago
    Good book!! One of my favorite books of the year!
  • Luv2readgirl added a soundbite 3 years ago
    Great story! Couldn't put it down!
  • nicolelovesgod added a soundbite 3 years ago
    Interesting story - learned a lot about the railroad circus. Caution - some mature content.
  • pitter81 added a soundbite 3 years ago
    I found the story entirely predictable...
  • landofmadness added a soundbite 3 years ago
    A good book but disturbing. Made me NOT want to join a circus. The good old days weren't.
  • indiana added a soundbite 3 years ago
    Such vivid writing made me want to run away and join the circus.
  • susan.doty added a soundbite 3 years ago
    I would loved this book. A great read
  • Maria Markis Cronin added a soundbite 4 years ago
    It was good but disturbing at times.
  • swang added a soundbite 4 years ago
    jacob's a wuss
  • mw260 added a soundbite 4 years ago
    I really liked this book. It was a great read you don't want to put down.
  • Katznbooks added a soundbite 4 years ago
    Loved it. I didn't want it to end. May be one of my favorite books ever.
  • An anonymous Lendler Patron
    An anonymous Lendler added a soundbite 4 years ago
    I started a little slow on this, but by halfway I was really hooked.
  • dianebaker added a soundbite 4 years ago
    Enjoyed the storyline. Easy read.
  • briezee added a soundbite 4 years ago
    Very engaging book. Really enjoyed it and didn't want to put it down.
  • Nobu Buckley Croft added a soundbite 4 years ago
    One of the best books I've read this year. And who wouldn't like a circus love story?!

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.

Surprising, poignant, and funny, Water for Elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.

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