By: Sara Gruen
Outer back cover: Water for Elephants is a great, glorious, big-hearted story set in a travelling circus touring the backblocks of America during the great Depression of the early 1930s. It’s about love and hate, trains and circuses, dwarves and fat ladies, horses and elephants – or, to be more specific, an elephant, Rosie, star of Benzini Bros Most Spectacular Show on Earth.
This story has it all – warmth, humour, poignancy and passion. It has an energy and spirit like the feeling under a big top when the show is about to begin. Water for Elephants will win your heart.
I saw this movie when it came out last year and really liked it, and I’ve been wanting to read the book ever since. And as it turns out I really like the book. From what I can remember the movie was able to stay quite true to the book, and I would like to watch it again now.
It’s about Jacob Jankowski who, when his parents die in a car accident, fails to sit his final exam at Cornell to be a veterinarian, runs away and by chance jumps on a circus train and gets hired as their vet. Sara Gruen apparently did a lot of research when she wrote this book, and it’s interesting to read about the circuses back then, how it all worked, their slang and just how it was for the workers on it.
The book changes between Jacob’s past in the circus and his present in a nursing home. I enjoyed reading both sides of the story. I also loved reading what Jacob was like with the elephant Rosie, and the other animals, although it doesn’t go into a lot of detail on that. Jacob’s romantic life was interesting to read about, I don’t want to say too much for those of you that haven’t read the book or seen the movie.
I would absolutely recommend this book, to both men and women, teenagers and older, not to very young people though, as some of the things happening in the book are not very pleasant.