Water For Elephants
By Sara Gruen
So for this book I decided to jump head first into it without reading any reviews or even the synopsis. It turned out to be a very well written and beautiful story about love, hardships, and a circus. It’s the great depression 1932, prohibition is in full swing, and like so many others a young man has had his entire life torn into pieces and ends up wandering straight into the adventure of a lifetime. Jake Jankowski, the main character in our epic story, is distraught when he is informed that both his parents have died in an automobile accident. After, what we can only assume is a nervous breakdown while taking his final exams for veterinary school; he walks out and continues until he cannot bear to go any further. While resting near a train track as a train rumbles up, and he decides to try to “hitch” a ride to the next town not realizing he has jumped aboard a circus train. From there he meets many characters who will forever change his life.
I found myself falling in love right along with him, hating the villain with a fiery passion, and cheering for a quirky elephant named Rosie whom Sara Gruen describes so vividly that you can’t help but smile. Sara Gruen manages to create a scene so well you can imagine yourself there, but she never loses you with too many details. Personally, I am torn whether or not I love this story. In the first half of the book when she is setting a scene she would add some explicit details that weren’t necessary. Since she had already masterfully created her setting and by adding those I can only assume she was after shock value. I did enjoy the story, but I have a hard time swallowing adultery, I guess I have just been married too long. I can understand why the characters were drawn to each other and why she would cheat on her husband, but I don’t personally enjoy it. In my opinion she could have used something else for her characters to over-come. It’s not like they didn’t have three or four other obstacles to surmount. All and all I couldn’t put it down so I suppose I can’t be too harsh.
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