Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Award for Most Popular Book.An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons. When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in to...


Details Water for Elephants

TitleWater for Elephants
ISBN9781565125605
Author
Release DateMay 1st, 2007
PublisherAlgonquin Books
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating

Reviews Water for Elephants

  • Rachel
    2008-01-23
    I think I expected too much out of this novel and therefore had room only for disappointment. Though I finished the book in its entirety, I wrote a short review on my blog about halfway through, expounding on the aspects of the book that irritated me. I have adapted it herein.First, the main "heroine," Marlena, is incredibly flat & boring. The narrator/main character, Jacob, is clearly infatuated with her, but I'm not sure why other than she look...
  • Rachel
    2007-12-27
    * * REVIEW CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS * *I really wanted to like this book. I think my low opinion is partially my fault, because I drove into the story with high expectations due to rave reviews. I need to learn not to do that.The beginning of this novel was excellent. A Ivy League dropout, who formerly studied to be a vet, runs away and joins the circus. The time period? The Depression and Prohibition America - a historical era of uncertainty and...
  • Kevin
    2008-05-29
    I wanted to like this book. I really did. I even enjoyed the first couple of chapters and was prepared for an entertaining summer read Eventually, however, the lack of imagination, melodrama, and just plain bad writing did it in for me. At the risk of beating a dead horse (albeit a dead horse with tremendous appeal to book clubs across the United States), let me enumerate the problems (spoiler alert – not that I suggest you read this book anywa...
  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    2011-05-26
    Oh man, this was lovely.
  • Sammy
    2007-06-09
    SPOILERS IN MY REVIEW! I'M SORRY ABOUT SPOILING IT FOR PEOPLE, REALLY I AM, IT WAS NEVER INTENTIONAL. BUT AS WITH ALL REVIEWS (ESPECIALLY MINE) THERE ARE GOING TO BE SPOILERS. I DELETED ALL THE COMMENTS THAT WERE HARASSING ME ABOUT ACCIDENTLY SPOILING THE BOOK. SERIOUSLY, I'M SORRY, BUT PEOPLE DON'T NEED TO BE COMPLETE AND UTTER ASSHOLES ABOUT IT. NOT EVERYONE, TO THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE NICE, I REALLY AM SORRY THAT I SPOILED THE BOOK. I FORGET THA...
  • Will Byrnes
    2011-01-29
    Ladies and gentlemen. Direct your attention to the performer in print. You will be amazed, dazzled and mystified by the daring feats you are about to witness. Well, that might be overstating a bit. The story does open with drama, though. A circus menagerie has gotten loose and there is mayhem. The narrator, Jacob, sees the ringmaster murdered. We then scoot ahead to the present. Jacob is in his 90s and looks back, revisiting his ghosts. From here...
  • Nataliya
    2011-12-31
    I picked up Water for Elephants after seeing the movie. You know, the one with "that Twilight guy" - who for a change was allowed to smile. And to have other facial expressions besides "permanently constipated". The math is simple:.........................Drum roll: Rosie the elephant works better than Ex-Lax!But on to the book now. In addition to Jacob Jankowski's "love affair" with Rosie the elephant (and a noticeably less sweet affair with Mar...
  • RJ McGill
    2007-07-22
    Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is one of those rare novels, that will be read and re-read, discussed and enjoyed for many years, by old and young alike. Destined to be passed between family and friends and back again, until the tattered, time worn pages resemble the books beloved central character and narrator.Jacob Jankowski, just days from the final exams at Cornell University that would have attached the respectable Dr. of Veterinary medic...
  • Michele
    2007-06-20
    Now THIS is a Good Book!When I finished reading Water for Elephants, goose bumps covered my skin. Now this is a good book! Immediately engrossed, I had a hard time putting it down as I read the story of Jacob Jankowski and his reminiscence of days with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth--otherwise known as a train circus in 1930's America.A talented writer and storyteller, Sara Gruen takes readers on a bumpy and tense train ride ...
  • Beth F.
    2008-07-15
    Just to put it out there, I’ll admit straight off the bat that I’m one of the people who enjoyed this book. It was a fast read (which I always appreciate, because I’m perpetually drowning in a list of books TBR) and it was fairly easy to get through. I also didn’t see the end coming until a few pages before it actually happened, which probably added immensely to my enjoyment factor.I’ve been reading all the criticisms of this book in an...
  • Matt
    2008-04-02
    April 24, 2008 edition of Coastal View NewsThe glitz and grit, glam and sham of depression-era circus life limps along in Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” with little aid from her shoddy prose, predictable plot and underdeveloped metaphor. Although the book has a flashy appearance and is easily digested, it offers less nutritional value than promised.When his parents suddenly and tragically die, Jacob Jankowski quits veterinarian school a...
  • Kat Kennedy
    2010-09-01
    I can count the number of times I've been to the circus on one hand. Actually, realistically, on one finger.We were taken once by my grandparents when I was about five. First, last and only time. My parents hate the idea of the circus and scorned it with all the pretentious uninterest that would likely scar their children for life, causing them to grow up embittered, solitary and convicted to write scathing, snarky reviews on GoodReads as a form ...
  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2015-08-30
    Water for elephants, 2007, Sara GruenWater for Elephants is a historical novel by Sara Gruen, written as part of National Novel Writing Month. Publication date: 26 May 2006 (1st edition). The story is told as a series of memories by Jacob Jankowski, a 93-year-old man who lives in a nursing home. Jacob is told what to eat and what to do.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پنجم ماه سپتامبر سال 2012 میلادیعنوان: آ...
  • Kristina Horner
    2009-12-24
    This book was PERFECT and I loved it. I want to read it again and again, and I can't recommend the audio book enough.
  • Fabian
    2010-11-03
    It's truly admirable to place the plot on a moving train and its roving fairgrounds... it's like living in a cotton candy cloud. There were plenty of chances to dash the reader away, to make poetry out of the circus workers' vagrant conditions, to use the animals as characters, not just decor,... to avoid cliche. This novel is written concisely, but with often description so vague the reader just glides over it. Also, the narrator is absolutely u...
  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
    2017-06-12
    Actual Rating: 1.5 StarsI went into this book with basically no expectations.Outside of the preview I saw for the movie starring Robert Pattinson & Reese Witherspoon years ago, I didn't even know what this book was about. Turns out this is a story is set in the 1920's & told from the dual perspectives of Jacob Jankowski when he is 23 & 90 (or maybe 93). On one hand, the story follows young Jacob right after his parents are both taken from him in ...
  • Christina
    2014-07-04
    4 stars! It's the 1930's, in the midst of the great depression and prohibition. At 23, Jacob Jankowski is just days away from taking his final exams at Cornell and becoming a veterinarian. He plans to join his fathers practice. Then he gets the devastating news that both his parents were killed in an automobile accident. They were behind on their mortgage and both their house and his fathers practice belong to the bank. There's nothing left for J...
  • Kristen
    2007-09-25
    This book is so terrible it made me physically angry. It's predictable, cliched and unimaginative. The good-hearted poor boy meets the good-hearted beautiful girl, who's involved with the bad-hearted, controlling man. Whatever will happen?Seriously. Don't buy this book. I know the cover is pretty, and the title is intriguing, and the summary is enticing. It's all razzle-dazzle. Kinda like a circus itself.
  • Tory
    2007-08-23
    This is a very good example of why one should have no expectations when going into a book. I wanted this book to be great. I thought this book was going to be great. A depression era traveling circus and all that entails? Awesome! The author’s voice being likened to Mr. Irving? Awesome! The fact that damn near everyone LOVED it? Promising! The only other circus book I’ve read was GEEK LOVE, and holy shit. Awesome! All of this lead me to belie...
  • Dannii Elle
    2015-09-02
    I can fully see why this book has such a polarizing effect on its readers: the circus setting led me to anticipate this as a fantastical and magical, fast-paced read, akin to The Night Circus. What was actually delivered was a moving and slow-building portrait of life as part of a circus. This was densely descriptive and evocative of the life of Jacob Jankowski, veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers' circus show, but there was little plot to move...
  • AMEERA
    2016-12-17
    2.5
  • Brenda
    2007-07-21
    I just finished reading "Water for Elephants" out on my deck. Just boo. That's my review. Boo. Not a loud boo, or an emphatic boo, just your average boo. Water for Elephants equals boo.Why do I give this a boo rating? Mostly for the dialogue. The author tries to explain 1930s carnival vernacular through a green carnie's questions about the world around him. And the questions come out over simplified and make for unrealistic and stilted conversati...
  • Nancy
    2011-03-24
    I wasn’t planning on reading this story, but my co-worker insisted. Since we had so much fun reading and discussing The Help, I decided to borrow the audio book from the library. Craig enjoyed the story more than I did and gave it four stars, while I gave it just three. We both enjoyed the alternating perspectives, from that of Jacob when he’s in his early 20’s and working for the Benzini Brothers circus to the old Jacob, when he’s 90 (or...
  • Jason Koivu
    2012-02-20
    Reading this was like running a marathon on bloody stumps. It took forever and it was painful. The subject - a vet recalling his days in a failing 1920s circus - would've interested me if the writing had been up to par. It wasn't horrible, just amateurish at times. Also, the dialogue could've been better. If the characters sounded more like they came from the '20s it might've drawn me more into the story, but they sounded like contemporaries who ...
  • Buggy
    2010-05-22
    In the beginning of Water For Elephants Jacob Jankowski tells us that he is ninety or ninety-three. One or the other. He's not really sure anymore. His body betrayed him years ago and Jacob now fears that his mind isn’t far behind. Shuffling along miserably behind his walker, he’s living out his final days in the nursing home and hating every minute of it. Just another invisible senior citizen who’s family and the world as a whole has forgo...
  • Frankie Lovely
    2017-02-07
    2 starsReview to comeBR with ~Bellegirl91~There are things I liked and disliked about this book.
  • Theresa
    2014-12-17
    Such a whimsical and fascinating novel. Some of the violence involving circus animals was a little upsetting but overall, I enjoyed reading about Jacob's story. I really liked him. :)
  • Izetta Autumn
    2007-07-12
    Somehow I feel that I have to defend why I liked this book, even though there's no one saying why I shouldn't have enjoyed it. Here's what I found most touching: the author took an fantastic premise - an orphan running away to the circus, a love triangle, an elephant, and the Great Depression and weaved a tale that doesn't make you say "bullocks," at every page. Gruen outlines use of anachronistic story telling is effective and she is skilled at ...
  • Bharath Ramakrishnan
    2015-05-20
    Jacob Jankowski is now in his 90s under care in a home. His mind travels back to the time he copes with tragedy when he loses his parents in an accident. It forces him to drop out of college while studying to be a Vet, and jump on a train. As it turns out he has landed in a circus train. What follows are his experiences in the circus. There is Arthur who is merciless and self centered. His wife Marlena whom Jacob follows in love with. Then there ...
  • Anne Goldschrift
    2017-01-30
    Hach, was für ein schönes Ende ♥