Monday, January 25, 2016

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

by Tina Ziobro

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. This story is told from the point of view of Jacob Jankowski in his nineties, looking back on his life in comparison to his current life in a nursing home. As a young veterinarian, Jacob abandons his life after his parents suddenly pass away in an accident. He ends up working on the Benzini Borther’s Circus. The novel follows his time on the circus as he falls in love, sees murder and torture and discovers what it means to truly live.

I very much enjoyed this read and have very few negative comments about it. The amount of detail about the circus life in the 1930s creates another world to escape to. Gruen clearly did extensive research on the time. The story of the circus alone is riveting. On top of that, there is the relationship Jacob forms with the head animal trainer August, and his performer wife Marlena. Jacob falls in love with Marlena, and though their love story is a bit sappy, it triggers huge conflict between August and the others. August’s personality and Marlena and Jacob’s connection bring lots of intriguing surprises that make Water for Elephants a real page turner.

For anyone who is interested in stories with lots of twists, love stories but more specifically, an insight into the 1930s, I highly recommend this book.

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