Friday, March 25, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

iconiconYou may remember that about a month ago, I read two books by Sara Gruen, Riding Lessons and Flying Changes.  I loved both books, and tore through each one in about a day.

I finally got the ebook of Water for Elephants from my library — there was a waiting list that has since gotten even longer, because of the movie that's coming out.  And I have to say, this book was nothing short of amazing.  I loved Riding Lessons and Flying Changes, of course, but I think I liked this one even better.  You just feel during the entire book the the story is building toward something significant.  I could hardly put it down!

The main character and narrator is Jacob, a student in veterinary school during the Great Depression.  When tragedy strikes his family, he leaves school and literally runs away with the circus, though not on purpose — he hops a train and that's where he finds himself.  Pretty soon he is sucked into the behind-the-scenes world of the circus, which is (as it turns out) full of corruption.  Both Jacob's boss and the general manager of the circus are evil men, but there are a few bright spots.  Jacob makes some loyal friends among the performers and crew, including Rosie, the elephant they acquire when another circus goes under.

I had a hard time deciding what category to put this book in, but ultimately I decided on historical fiction, because of the Great Depression time period and all the research that obviously went into getting the circus setting just right.  I highly recommend it — you'll especially love the unexpected ending!


Irreverent Freelancer said...

Lucky you! I really want to read this before the film comes out too, but I know it will be difficult to get my hands on right now. Normally a used copy would be pretty cheap since this one's been out for a while, but even those prices skyrocket when the film is imminent.

Katharine Swan said...

Yes, I'm sure that's why the waiting list on the ebook suddenly got so long. It was about 8 patrons long when I got on the list, and is now somewhere around 30, I think.

It was a great book! Can you get a used copy cheap somewhere like eBay, where people often don't look for books?