Sunday, April 11, 2010

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

From the back cover:
Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train -- and inadvertently runs away with the circus. Thrown into the chaos of a second-rate traveling show, Jacob is adrift in a world of freaks, swindlers, and misfits.

I really didn't expect to like this novel. I actively dislike the whole idea of a circus -- caged animals and exploitation of the poor and uneducated. Further, I also tend to avoid reading historical novels especially American Historical novels which I find tend to ooze patriotic pap.

However, at the urging of many friends, I finally picked it up.

No regrets!!!

Sara Gruen is truly a marvelous story teller and perceptive observer of human nature! Right from the first page, she draws the reader in, making it near impossible to put this novel down. Also she has the ability to put herself (and by extrapolation, the reader too) into the skin of her characters.

This is a love story but not in the conventional sense. This is the story of a man who sticks to his convictions and cares for the animals who have been put in his charge, including a very stubborn and misunderstood elephant called Rosie.

From the back cover:
Water for Elephants is a dark and beautiful portrait of a crumbling circus. With warmth and whimsy, Gruen depicts an unforgettable world where love is a luxury few can afford.

1 comment:

  1. Walter was a great character from this book! I kept hoping to learn more about him after his "departure" from the train ... it was my only disappointment in reading Water for Elephants.