Sunday, December 09, 2007

Water for Elephants



A while ago I checked out Water for Elephants from the library. I did not end up reading it because it was due back. I did not think I would like it so I disregarded it, not attempting to renew this best selling novel. When am I going to learn my lesson? For years The Kite Runner sat on my book shelf, another novel I thought I would not like. I ended up loving it so much that I recommend it to everyone now and am anxiously awaiting the film. The Other Bolyen Girl looked too big and thick and I decided I would never get through it. But I did eventually read it and I loved it.

Fast forward several months and my book club chose Water for Elephants as the December pick. I was not too excited. The book is so popular though that I could only get the Large Print edition from the library so you know, people really are enjoying it.

I was intrigued from the beginning of the book. Author Sara Gruen pulls the reader into the story told by aging Jacob, in the nursing home reliving his days as a veterinarian in the circus. He is ninety three, maybe ninety years old- he can't remember- and sits waiting for his family to visit and take him to the circus. As he waits, he thinks about his own tumultuous time under the big top. Jacob as an old man is so heart wrenchingly sad! But Jacob as a young man keeps the reader turning the pages as we learn about his forbidden love with beautiful Marlena, the animals he cares for, particularly Rosie, and relationships with other circus workers.

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning so I could finish the book. Water for Elephants is a different kind of story about the circus back in the depression era, not exactly a hot topic in the year 2007 which makes it stand out! It's such a good book, so well written and interesting. I have to recommend it to you if you haven't read it yet. Here in the Amazon link.

And I have to mention another novel set in the circus world, Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis. Amanda died tragically after the book was published. This author no doubt would have gone on to have an amazing career.

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