Time to share with you a really great book, that I've just read. This paperback has sat on my bookshelf for two years and last week I finally got round to reading it – was I surprised! Quite simply, I found Water for Elephants an exceptional read and one that any reader should not miss. Briefly the novel is during the Depression in the USA and it recalls how a circus struggles to survive. The story is seen from the eyes of Jacob Jankowski, an unqualified vet who jumped on the Benzini Brothers circus train, one evening after the shocking death of his parents.
The action in Water for Elephants is just right; more than sufficiently paced to keep the reader glued to the pages. There are flashbacks reverting back to the nursing home of the present-day, where Jacob is finding his aged infirmity unbearable, but somehow this only adds to the depth of the story.
Sara Gruen has created a circus world that's believable; one that you feel right in the midst of and this is carried through with her characters. Uncle Al, (the circus boss) and August, (the animal trainer) are characters you’ll hate. Whereas Marlena, Kinko the Dwarf, and Camel are character's you’ll love. Chief protagonist is Jacob Jankowski and I found myself completely empathising with him. His struggle to fit into circus life, gain acceptance from his peers and deal with the urges of his love interest, make him a hugely engaging character.
I highly recommend this book. It's a gripping story and is one of those novels which will both shock and thrill you. The stark poverty of the early nineteen hundreds is interspersed with details of the emotional deprivation the main character, Jacob experiences in a nursing home during his latter years. Yet in both settings a light is shone on acts of kindness which define our humanity and reinforce the fragile dignity of those who are almost overwhelmed by their plights. There is a social history dimension to the story which enhances its value and impact. This is easily one of the better books I've ever read.
Thank for dropping by! Happy reading