Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Genre: fiction
Pages: audio
Challenges: New author, audio book
New-to-me Author: yes
Author's Website

Simple Description:
Jacob Jankowski is just finishing his degree at Cornell, he's going to be a vet and work alongside his father.  Then the unthinkable happens, Jacob's parents are run off the road and killed.  When he goes to their town to take care of things and figure out what to do next, he finds out that the bank is taking the house.  He tries to take his last exam but can't do it and blindly starts walking.  He ends up jumping a circus train and being offered a position.  

While working for the circus he comes to fall in love with Marlena, one of the performers, who happens to be married.  Her husband is a nasty man and abuses her.   Jacob has to find a way to get her away from him.

Along the way Jacob learns what circus life is really like.  He makes some friends, and some enemies.
You meet Rosie, a circus elephant who doesn't appear to know how to actually perform. You can't help but like Rosie though, especially what she does at the end (and no, I'm not going to tell you what she did..that would be a spoiler).

The novel is told from the point of view of Jacob, as the story happens in the early 1930's as well as Jacob, in present day as an old man in a nursing home.

Now what you really want to know....my thoughts:
This is another case of "I expected the book to be better because of all the hype".  I did like the book, I thought the story was good and very interesting. I've never read a book about a circus. So that aspect was interesting.  However I don't think it was as good as I was lead to believe.  I know too many people who told me it was the best book of the year or how the just loved it.  I think it was good, but not that good.  I do think it's worth reading, I just caution you to not get your hopes up.

I did listen to the audio version of this book. I liked how they used two different narrators for Jacob.  There was a younger Jacob and an older Jacob.  I think it worked very well for this book.

This audio book was rented from my local library.


bermudaonion said...

I haven't read too much about this one, so maybe I'll love it!

WonderBunny said...

Good review!

I liked this book. I didn't love either though. I liked the flashbacks a great deal more then I liked the present time in the story and everytime it went to the present, I just waited for another flashback to start. I didn't like the ending though which felt a little last minute to me.

MarceJ said...

Very nice review, I have this one on my TBR list, need to pick it up and read it.

Found you from April's blog Cafe of Dreams.

Kris said...

Bermudaonion - I hope you do!

Wonderbunny - I agree with you on both accounts..the flashbacks were way more interesting and the ending was just ok - I didn't really see it happening in real life.

MarceJ - Thanks! I hope you enjoy it when you do read it.

Andreea said...

Not sure if I want to read this now, with your review. Thanks for your honest thoughts.