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Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen Book Review

Updated on February 2, 2013

© Sarah Masson 2011

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen (A New York Bestseller) follows the story of Jacob Jankowski. The story is told from Jacob's point of view, starting as an old man in a retirement home and going back into his exciting and eventful past. After learning of a tragedy and having no where to go, Jacob leaves his school during an exam. He ends up on a train which turns out to be a travelling circus. Young Jacob is thrown into a world of excitement, chaos and everything in between. Jacob was a veterinary student who had almost finished his degree, so he is taken on as the circus vet. He meets some very interesting characters along the way including his love interest Marlena, the bossy Uncle Al, bad tempered August and a beautiful elephant named Rosie, to name a few.

It's a story of getting through the hard times and learning who you are. A story of loss and love, happiness and sadness and one hell of an interesting ride with a travelling circus. After much research Sara Gruen has come up with a fantastic story and some parts are even based on true stories. In the edition I read it also had a few pictures which I thought was great.

It was great to read a story that was completely different from anything that I have read before. I liked being able to see behind the scenes of circus's in the early 1930's. The story is set in America during the Great Depression. It gives us the chance to get an idea of the way workers and animals may have been treated and what circus life was like. I also loved the story because of Rosie the elephant. Sara Gruen does a fantastic job of describing what she is like and it makes it easy to picture her. Elephants are beautiful creatures.

There is so much more to this story than just being about a circus. Full of friendships, relationships, hardships, love, hate and jealousy among many other human emotions and these emotions are what makes a great story.

I am looking forward to seeing the film later this year starring Robert Pattinson and Reece Witherspoon. I am guessing already by the trailer that I will love it as much as I did the book. I have put the official trailer below, so have a look.

I definitely recommend this book. If you are looking for something unique to read, then this is the one for you. It has all the things a great story needs including: romance, drama and very intriguing characters.

If you have already read Water For Elephants, let me know what you thought of it. Did you love it or hate it?


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    • sfrentz06 profile image


      7 years ago from Sterling Heights, MI, USA

      Great review! This sounds like a very interesting read. I'll definitely try to remember this one.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 

      7 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Wow I am going to have to get that book now! And the movie looks so good!! Thanks so much, one of the best reviews I've ever read.

    • dollslikeus profile image


      7 years ago from union ohio

      Looks like a good show !

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 

      7 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      'Water for Elephants' Is a must read book for me now. Thanks for your review.

    • tnderhrt23 profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very nice book review, well written and enticing. "Water for Elephants" has been added to my must-read list. Thanks!


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