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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants Published: 2006
Pages: 368

This is a remarkable story! At first I wasn’t sure if I’d really like it, one part even turned me off my breakfast. But as you read on what unfolds is an amazing story about a man thrust into the most unusual circumstances. The majority of the story is about unrequited love.

Jacob Jankowski is a 93 year old man who is in an assisted living facility. He is put there by his five children after breaking his hip. His wife died of cancer at the age of 61 and he has been waiting to greet his death because he has hated his existence without her.

The story is narrated by Jacob both as a 93 year old man and as a young man he takes us through the journey of his life. Life was not easy in the 1930’s and the Great Depression. He is studying at an Ivy League school to be a Vet so that he can work side by side with his father in the family practice. Just as he is finishing the school year and preparing to take his final exams he is told that his parents have both been killed in a car accident. He later discovers that his parents had huge debts and he is left with nothing. He returns to school to finish the last 6 days but ends up walking out on his final exam. Wandering around aimlessly he finds himself at a circus. Then a strange and wondrous life begins.

This book covers so many topics including animal cruelty, the struggle of life during the depression and gives you a glimpse into the circus life that you could never imagine. I have to say there were a few sexually explicit things in this book that made me feel uncomfortable. It also made me feel a little scared of getting old. The author’s insight into the psyche of an old man was extraordinary.

This was an excellent book that I thoroughly enjoyed but it was difficult to read as there seemed to be so much sadness. For this reason I gave it a 4 because it is not a book I would read again.

Royal Rating:


Marg said...

I would read this one again. I was so moved by the book.

Teddy Rose said...

I loved this book!

dolleygurl said...

I absolutely LOVED this book!