Saturday, April 23, 2011

Water for Elephants

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The movie opened earlier this month, but I like to read the book first. Especially since I had already downloaded it to my Kindle. I read an interview with the author, Sara Gruen, in which tells how she got caught up in telling a story about life in a circus during the Great Depression. She said she had never had much interest in circuses before, and this novel happened as a detour from the story she intended to write.

I loved Water for Elephants. I loved the old man Jacob Jankowski (he’s 90 or 93, he forgets which) as he reflects on how he ran away from his final veterinary school exam. His parents were killed in an automobile accident and left a house in foreclosure and his father’s veterinary practice insolvent. It’s a wonderful fantasy how he ends up on a circus train, takes a job shoveling manure, and gets promoted to the circus vet. Gruen fills the story with backstage stories of hoboes and workers being cheated out of their pay and being thrown from the train. And there is Jacob's fascination with the horse trainer, and love for an abused elephant.

I hope the movie is half as good as the book. I give it 5 stars.

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