Heidi's Reviews > Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
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's review
Aug 28, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: quick_reads, historical-fiction
Recommended for: everyone
Read in July, 2007

I read this book in one day. It pulls you in.

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 and frustrations associated with old age. I completely lose sight of the fact that they were once every bit (and probably more so) as vibrant, active, ambitious, and forward-looking as I am now.

Some day, I will have a hard time walking. I will be in danger of falling and breaking a fragile bone. I will forget little, everyday things. And young people will treat me with that combination of sympathy, reverence, lack of understanding, and fear that I feel now. They will not really understand that I was once a whole, young, unfeeble person who could walk quickly and bend over without fear of falling. And as I am an arrogant person who wants everyone to know how smart, ambitious, and important I am, that will be hard to swallow.

When I next see him, I will ask Ed, the 80-something-year-old man at my church who fixes our computers to tell me some stories about his life as a young engineer inventing some of the world's first computers. And then I will actually listen to what he says.
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Comments (showing 1-3)

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Kate ...i read it in a day too*

Kate ...i read it in a day too*

Carrie I feel exactly the same way about this book. While the circus and characters were intriguing, the storyline I felt most moved by was elderly Jacob. It made me really think about aging in a new way.

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