Water For Elephants

Water For Elephants

by Sara Gruen

Phyllis Grocoff: Beautiful story line - loved the way the author brought you back and forth from the nursing home to the circus. Excellent character development. Our book club enjoyed seeing the movie together after discussing the book. I felt, however that the book gave a better view of life and character in the nursing home - it was missing in the movie.
Rating: *****

Chris Mehling: I too loved this book. I loved the older character Jacob telling the story through his eyes. I felt sad for him and all the forgotten seniors living their life out in nursing homes. It is a compelling story about circus life during the depression.

I went to see the movie yesterday. While I never like movies as much as the book; it pretty much follows the story line. The only character that really made an impression was the actor that played August, Marlena's husband. His tortured bipolar personality was spot on. I enjoyed the movie and Rosie the elephant was amazing!

Book = 5 stars; Movie = 3 stars
Rating: *****

Anne Ferber: I've owned this book for about a year, but for some reason, never started it. Of course, last week once I opened it, couldn't put it down. Wonderful characters, setting, time period and full of adventure.

I was especially taken with Jacob, the main character as an aged resident of an assisted living institution, giving a wonderful description of the place as seen through his own eyes and grumpy personality. The food, the attitudes of the aides, the bureaucratic indifference to the individuals they are serving, these are all right on!

The ending of this book is priceless and probably every SENIOR, senior citizen's fantasy.

I am sending this book to my mother who will really get a kick out of it.
Rating: *****

Wanda Cohen: Loved this book. Couldn't put it down. I know it's been out awhile and I read it when it first came out but I loved it the second time around almost as much as the first. I learned much abou t life in a traveling circus, both good and bad, and about life during the depression. I also learned a great deal about aging and not being allowed to make choices because you've outliving your children's comfort zone. The story is captivating. The characters are very real. The writing is wonderful. The plot keeps your interest. You're sad when it ends. What more can you ask?
Rating: *****

Arlene Almas: Here's a shout-out to Kim for recommending this book - it is, as she says, filled with the humanity of its characters and also illustrates (in two senses: through the text, and through old circus photos) in exceptional detail the world of a traveling circus during the early years of the Depression. You'll remember these characters for a long time: Jacob, who is forced to join the circus through a family tragedy that leaves him homeless and without a way to make a living; Marlena, the beautiful bareback rider with the belligerent husband; Walter, the dwarf who is Jacob's "roommate" (shares his railroad car along with the horses from Marlena's act); and Rosie the elephant, who doesn't understand commands in English but... well, I'll leave you to discover how intelligent she really is. This one is definitely worth a read.
Rating: ****

Judy Copek: I second everything Kim said in her review. One of the best books I read last year. Very gripping and compelling. You feel like a part of the circus. I loved Rosie.
Rating: *****

Kim Sisto Robinson: This book could have been titled "WATER FOR HUMANITY," because this is what it is truly about. "Water for Elephants" was written with such elegance and grace that each voice will stay with the reader for a long time afterwards like an exquisite meal.

Jacob Jankouwski tells us an unbelievable tale from his rest home, and his memories are so lush and tragic that the reader will be transformed into his past and present along with him. Jacob enters the `circus life' by no desire of his own, but this world changes him beyond belief. The reader will be changed, too, and utterly awakened by this strange, lovely world within a world. And Rosie, the elephant, becomes a rich narrative and advocate for all animals and every freak whom works inside the inner circle of the circus.

Sara Gruen has created brilliant, memorable characters, people whom I fell in love with and cared deeply about. "Water for Elephants" is a book about Humanity: how it can be dark and light at the same time, how people can change, how others do not, how survival is connected to love, and above all, how giving water to elephants is like giving water to the world. I dreaded turning the last page; I did not want to leave the circus-family and all of their peculiarities and delights. This book will leave the reader thirsty for more.

*** A must read for all fiction freaks!
Rating: *****

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