Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Water For Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

   Sara Gruen is very talented writer.  Water for Elephants was the first of her books I have read, and it did not disappoint me at all.   I was hooked from the very beginning!  This book is about the Circus...I know what you must be thinking, Oh Great Clowns!  But that is not the case in this book.

   Water for Elephants is about a young man named Jacob Jankowski, who is about to graduate from Cornell University as a Veterinarian.  Tragically his parents are killed in an automobile accident  which leaves him with nothing in the 1930's.  The time of the depression.  With nowhere to live and nowhere to go, Jacob starts walking and walking until he ends up by the train tracks.   As a train comes his way, his life changes.  Jacob, with nothing left for him in his small town, starts running after the train and hops on.  Much to his surprise, it's a circus train...the Benzini Brothers Circus.

   This is where he will be pushed to the limit and where he will fall in love.  He works hard and ends up staying with the circus as their veterinarian.  Living through the day seems to be the biggest challenge for young Jacob as his boss, August, has a severe mood swings and is married to one of Jacobs love interests named Marlena.

  In the time of the depression it was hard to get work and it was hard for the Circus' to stay running.  If you were one of the fortunate Circus' to stay afloat,  you did so by gaining circus acts from a fallen circus.  The Benzini Brothers acquire an elephant named Rosie, Jacobs second love in this book.

   Jacobs job is to take care of the animals and to be the man in charge of the elephant Rosie.  Rosie is going to be the saving grace of the circus as the main act with Marlena.  Working with Rosie and Marlena, Jacob forms great bonds with both.  Torn between the right thing to do and the way things must go are a great displeasure to Jacob.

  August is abusive to everyone around him, especially Rosie and Marlena.  August had many problems with the Rosie, due to the language barrier between them.  Rosie finds herself in a few troublesome situations that are funny and light in nature, and in turn suffers severe punishments at the hands of August.

   Also suffering from the hands of August, is his wife Marlena.  Although Marlena is not a troublesome Elephant she also finds herself in some trouble.   August is paranoid and takes things the wrong way and with doing that, becomes abusive to Marlena.  Jacob does not like this at all and tries to do everything he can to save both Marlena and Rosie.  The two loves of his life.

   A very moving book about circus life and how hard it must have been in the 1930's.  I recommend this book with great praises.  Entertaining and captivating to the very end.  I almost want to run away to the circus!


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