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With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen's romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[...] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story's ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book. (May 26)
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Life is good for Jacob Jankowski. He's about to graduate from veterinary school and about to bed the girl of his dreams. Then his parents are killed in a car crash, leaving him in the middle of the Great Depression with no home, no family, and no career. Almost by accident, Jacob joins the circus. There he falls in love with the beautiful performer Marlena, who is married to the circus' psychotic animal trainer. He also meets the other love of his life, Rosie the elephant. This lushly romantic novel travels back in forth in time between Jacob's present day in a nursing home and his adventures in the surprisingly harsh world of 1930s circuses. The ending of both stories is a little too cheerful to be believed, but just like a circus, the magic of the story and the writing convince you to suspend your disbelief. The book is partially based on real circus stories and illustrated with historical circus photographs. Marta Segal
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Great condition, and a great book. It gives a valuable perspective into the life, and held my attention close all the way through. Caution, it may leave you in tears!Published 1 month ago by Lauren
It's an amazing book, but I am hardly unique on thinking that, The author shows a real depth of feeling for her characters and animals as well.Published 4 months ago by Ecurb Snaven Nud
Water for Elephants is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I'd recommend it to anyone, and will actively seek out other books by Sara Gruen.Published 5 months ago by Karen Wattie
I read this a long time ago, but always wanted to leave a review. This was a great read. The author had me hooked the whole way through. I can't wait for her new book.Published 9 months ago by Elizabeth R