Water for Elephants
Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own na...more
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First, the main "heroine," Marlena, is incredibly flat & boring. The narrator/main character, Jacob, is clearly infatuated with her, but I'm not sure why other than she looks good in pink sequins. She's married to her a ...more
I really wanted to like this book. I think my low opinion is partially my fault, because I drove into the story with high expectations due to rave reviews. I need to learn not to do that.
The beginning of this novel was excellent. A Ivy League dropout, who formerly studied to be a vet, runs away and joins the circus. The time period? The Depression and Prohibition America - a historical era of uncertainty and chaos. I was looking for an intriguing tale of a ...more
1. Neither the narrator, nor any of the other cha ...more
I picked up Water for Elephants after seeing the movie. You know, the one with "that Twilight guy" - who for a change was allowed to smile. And to have other facial expressions besides "permanently constipated". The math is simple:
Drum roll: Rosie the elephant works better than Ex-Lax!
But on to the book now. In addition to Jacob Jankowski's "love affair" with Rosie the elephant (and a noticeably less sweet affair with Marlena-the-bland-chick) we get a parallel story of J
When I finished reading Water for Elephants, goose bumps covered my skin. Now this is a good book! Immediately engrossed, I had a hard time putting it down as I read the story of Jacob Jankowski and his reminiscence of days with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth--otherwise known as a train circus in 1930's America.
A talented writer and storyteller, Sara Gruen takes readers on a bumpy and tense train ride through history. This tale defines Americana. Ther ...more
I’ve been reading all the criticisms of this book in an attempt to organize my opinions after reading this book. It ...more
The glitz and grit, glam and sham of depression-era circus life limps along in Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” with little aid from her shoddy prose, predictable plot and underdeveloped metaphor. Although the book has a flashy appearance and is easily digested, it offers less nutritional value than promised.
When his parents suddenly and tragically die, Jacob Jankowski quits veterinarian school at Cornell University just before graduation and finds hi ...more
We were taken once by my grandparents when I was about five. First, last and only time. My parents hate the idea of the circus and scorned it with all the pretentious uninterest that would likely scar their children for life, causing them to grow up embittered, solitary and convicted to write scathing, snarky reviews on GoodReads as a form or self expression in order to share their own mis ...more
But, it wasn’t aw ...more
Seriously. Don't buy this book. I know the cover is pretty, and the title is intriguing, and the summary is enticing. It's all razzle-dazzle. Kinda like a circus itself.
Why do I give this a boo rating? Mostly for the dialogue. The author tries to explain 1930s carnival vernacular through a green carnie's questions about the world around him. And the questions come out over simplified and make for unrealistic and stilted conversations.
Sara Gruen also tries to intersperse a 90-yea ...more
When the circus comes to town and sets up it ...more
Craig enjoyed the story more than I did and gave it four stars, while I gave it just three. We both enjoyed the alternating perspectives, from that of Jacob when he’s in his early 20’s and working for the Benzini Brothers circus to the old Jacob, when he’s 90 (or 93) and living in a nursing home. We loved the large cast ...more
I liked the perspective from which the story was told - a feisty 90-something old man reflecting in flashbacks on his adventures in a travelling circus 70 years earlier, while lamenting the indignities of his current nursing-h ...more
I learned a lot about the old traveling circuses and life with them. That was really interesting.
But the most important thing I got from this book was the narrative from the perspective of Jacob as an old man. I have a hard time truly making myself realize that elderly people were once like me. They were young, with lives just like mine (in the important ways). When talking to elderly people, I spend my energy being sympathetic about their problems an ...more
Caution: Folks as much as I want everybody to read this book I have to say that this is definitely not a YA book. It contains offensive language, violence and over the top sex.
Before anything else, I'm going to share this song Satisfy by Vedera because some guy in Youtube make this a soundtrack for the book and I think the song captures the emotions in the book accurately.
♫♪If there was a way to try and make it back
Back to where we started from
Could I find a ...more
I could go on for days and days, but I am going to stop right now so you can go read this book. You MUST read this book.
Jacob Jankowski proves more than a little odd beneath his shirt ...more
Unfortunately, though, the main aspect of the book - the romance - fell completely flat for me. Marlena was such a flat character and I couldn't bring up any sympathy for her or her sitution. The chemistr ...more
First, if you haven't read WATER FOR ELEPHANTS yet, SKIP THE PROLOGUE! For your own enjoyment, do not read the first 3 or 4 pages. No lie, it's the climax of the entire book. Why the author and publisher thought that beginning the book with the end of the book was a good idea I'll never understand, but it's the equivalent of SE7EN beginning with Brad P ...more
I found myself completely fascinated by this world. Seriously didn't think I'd love this book as much as I did. I only wanted to read it cause my favorite actor is staring in it.
But hey, there it is.
Water For Elephants is a born classic. I remem ...more
"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent."--- Theodor Seuss Geisel, Horton Hatches the Egg
That is the quote at the opening of Water for Elephants. And it couldn't be more fitting.
The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth may very well not have been what its name proclaimed it t ...more
Tolstoy it’s not, with a couple of notable exceptions the characters are cookie-cutter. Dastardly villains abound along with the token helpless heroine, but the main character Jacob in his role of circus vet is perfection. He joins the circus young and penniless ...more
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