Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Disclaimer: I want to start by saying I'm STILL trying to figure out what the purpose of this blog is. I decided I really enjoyed doing restaurant reviews in DC so maybe I'll try my hand at a book review. I like a lot of things so I'll blog about a lot of things.

Okay, so back to the book. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. About the time the movie, Water For Elephants, was coming out my mom bought this book. I couldn't wait for her to finish so I could read it. I'm the kind of person who usually likes the book better than the movie about the book and I prefer to read the book before seeing the movie so I don't "taint" my creation and interpretation of the characters. That being said last weekend I was very excited to go home and see the book waiting on the bed for me to read! I started it Tuesday and finished it last night around 12:40 AM. It was certainly one of the best books I've read in a while. I spent two nights in a row reading till past midnight. It was the type of book that made me laugh, made me cry, made my heart race and I couldn't put it down!

Set in the 1930s on a circus train, the main character Jacob Janoskowski has his life before him, as he's almost set to graduate from Cornell as a veterinarian. Then a tragic event completes changes his plans and he takes off in the wilderness. He jumps onto a train and finds himself in the middle of the Benzini Brothers circus. The book flashes between him in the 30s telling about the circus and all he encountered including Marlena the beautiful horse girl and an elephant named Rosie, and his current situation, where he sits in a nursing home and is made to feel like he is worthless. He befriends a nurse whose name is Rosemary and she is always kind to him bringing him food that isn't mushy and "old people" food.

There were times I'd laugh out loud imagining the situation described. There was an instance that as I read tears were flowing down my cheek before I realized it. I may be an unusual reader as I really engage in the words and let them take me somewhere else, but I think that's what readings for. I sometimes wish I read more books that taught me things but everytime I try, I am almost put to sleep. I also really liked this book because it was interesting to see how historically accurate it was regarding the Great Depression.

If you're looking for a good book that takes you away and really allows you to connect with the characters, if that's your sort of thing, I would reccommend reading Water for Elephants. I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5, just because well that's what I feel like doing.

Have you read Water for Elephants? If so, what did you think of it?

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