Sunday, November 6, 2011

Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)

In an attempt to catch up on writing about some of the books I read this past year, I shall write this one.  I was inspired last night after finally watching the movie version of Water for Elephants. This past winter, I was encouraged to read the novel Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I'm still a believer that 90% of the time, the book is better than the movie.  The movie, in this case, reminded me so much of the story that I read a few short months ago. 

The novel goes back and forth between the nursing home, where a ninety year old Jacob Jankowski is currently residing, and his earlier days, when he is 23 and working for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. 
Jacob started working for the Benzini Brothers after he finds out that his parents have passed away.  Jacob was due to take his final veterinary exam and begin working with his father, but now decides to leave before he graduates from the program.  Once on the train, he gets hired as their veterinarian.  He becomes wrapped up in a love triangle and is engulfed in the life of the show.

I loved everything about Water for Elephants.  What kid doesn't think about what it would be like to work for a circus?  This gives you a somewhat behind the scenes look at some of the challenges that Jacob faced on the road.  I loved the back and forth of the story between the nursing home and the circus.  I loved the relationships that Jacob created on the train.  I loved the love triangle.  I loved the ending.  I loved that I didn't want to put the book down.

I would definitely recommend the novel, for a few extra stories from the nursing home and for some great opportunities to use your imagination and create your own images of what is being so wonderfully described using words. 

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