The beginning of this novel was very excellent. An Ivy League dropout, who formerly studied to be a vet, runs away and joins the circus. His name is Jacob and he runs away because his parents die in a car accident. At the very beginning of the book the title will become more clear. I am glad that this book was made into a movie. It's action packed and full of romance, revenge, and death. The time period is maybe during the great depression, although it's not stated. The ending is really shocking. There is slight cussing and violence in the story but that's what makes it a page-turner. Sara Gruen did a wonderful job explaining the elephants. She stated in her "Author's notes" that she actually traveled many places to study elephants and their way with humans. Like all books I recommend this book more than the movie.