Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Published: 2007
By: HighBridge Company
Source: Borrowed
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hrs., 32 mins.
ISBN:  9781598872729

Goodreads

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This book is one of those books that a friend of mine had recommended in our first year of library school, and ever since then the title has nagged me to read it. So putting aside my desire to read another YA, I downloaded the audiobook for Water for Elephants. I’m glad I did. A story of intensity and continuous flashbacks. This is not a dull book by any stretch. Murder. Adventure. Running away with the circus. Death. Aging. Memories. Romance. Secrets.. so many secrets.

The circus has set up across the street and the residents are bussling with excitement for their weekend visit from family, because that means they’ll be able to go to the show. Mr. Jankowski is one of them. The circus, however, is not an excuse for him to get out of the stuffy nursing home, but an exciting trip through memory lane. He is Jacob Jankowski in his recollections of his youth, he could be considered to be a large part of some of the circus history.

Jacob was about 23, and he had his whole life mapped out once he graduated from Cornell with his Veterinary degree. But tragedy struck him just weeks before his final exam which put him through so much grief he ran out of the building on his testing day. He walked for ages and without thinking he hopped a train. And that’s when his whole life changed.

Water for elephants is one of those stories where it definitely makes you think about your own life. How much are you willing to sacrifice for others? Do you stay quiet or fight back? Mr. Jankowski knew so many dark secrets about the circus that he stayed quiet about it. The penny-pinching ring-leader. The ill treatment of animals and of the workers. The “Red Lighting”. He kept it all quiet; afraid to let it all out.

I enojyed every part of this book. The cutesy parts. The disturbing parts. The shocking. But the ending was my favorite. I figured after Mr. Jankowski had told his story, he would fallen into his deep sleep, and never to wake up again. But… *Spoiler*

4 Star

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He runs away with the circus… again.

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About Black ' n Write Reviewer

I'm a junior high librarian finding her way into the lives of her students through the art of literature.
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