Thursday, February 10, 2011

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen            spoiler free

Fiction, depression era, United States
published 2006

In the summer of 1931, 21 year old Jacob Jankowski was one week away from his final exams at Cornell veterinary school when an unfortunate incident with his family lead him to drop out. He hopped the first train leaving town and as fate would have it, it was a circus train.

This books weaves a tale of romance, betrayal and the effects of the great depression, while highlighting human-animal bonds and the depths people will go to fight for the ones they love.
The story bounces back and forth between a 93 year old Jacob and his 21 year old self.

I can't remember the last time I have read a book that was not young adult or some sort of fantasy story but I am extremely glad I read this. This story was amazing and the writing was superb. The descriptions were so vivid the story played out in my head like a movie (which is good 99% of the time, I'll get to that explanation in a minute).  The story moved with a good pace, I never once wanted to skip anything out of boredom.

The elements of the circus enviroment were very authentic. Now I can't comfirm that, being I have never personally lived among the circus folk, but you can tell the author did extensive research  and delicatly placed her knowledge into the story to creat a perfect balance. From the lingo to the characters attitudes she really hit it head on.

Now for that 1% of the book I could of done without. Keep in mind almost all the books I read are "young adult" and I'm not use to certain elements contained in this story. There were a few scenes that were of a sexual nature that kind of threw me off. They were not overly graphic but they didn't do anything to forward the plot either. Those scences could of easily been cut. But that is just me, I prefer more of a PG-13 version.

There were also a few scenes where pain was inflicted on animals and with the vivid descriptions I pictured it perfectly. It was sad but quick. The author did not linger on about it.

Over all I recommend this book. It is beeing made into a movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, release date April 22nd.

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