Water for Elephants

By Sara Gruen,

Book cover of Water for Elephants

Book description


'Great story, loads of fun; hard to put down.' STEPHEN KING

The Great Depression, 1929.
When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and utterly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Water for Elephants as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The main character, Jacob Jankowski narrates this story keeping me glued to the pages as he describes the characters that surround him. Gruen artfully uses Jacob in his younger days and his older days to tell the story of the old-time circus. She is able to give multi-dimensions to the other characters through the eyes of the narrator without having to switch over to a third-person point of view. It has been years since I have read this, but I feel like I remember each character's personality as if they too were telling the story. Almost like I was there…

From Robert's list on first person that tell it like it is.

Each time I read Water for Elephants, a novel set in the early twentieth century, I am carried into the strange and amazing life of the American circus. The ribbon of fantasy that weaves its way through Gruen’s novel—the elephant Rosie as a main character—wraps up my heart and pulls me deep into the story. Water for Elephants is an uplifting novel, filled with hope.  

When I browse my bookshelves for recommendations, this one always stands out as one with a memorable story but also for the author’s gorgeous grammar.

In 1932 during the Great Depression, Jacob Jankowski hits a rough patch. Not yet finished with veterinary school, he’s suddenly orphaned and penniless. When he jumps on a train, Jacob is catapulted into a foreign world of misfits and freaks. The traveling circus is filled with beauties, brutal taskmasters, and animals that need his help. In spite of odds conspiring against him, Jacob discovers love in this unlikely time and place. Will he do what…

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