Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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Goodreads Summary:

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932 illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Award for Most Popular Book.

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

My Thoughts:

This book is amazing.  I love circus books I guess!   This book is told from the point of view of Jacob set in modern time when he is in a nursing home and is either ninety or ninety three (he doesn’t remember) and also set in the 30s when Jacob worked for a circus. In modern times Jacob is a really terribly depressing, but also surprising funny character.  The circus comes to town, just down the street from the nursing home, and it reminds Jacob of when he used to work at the circus during the Great Depression.  The story is told beautifully. I love how it alternates between the past and the present, and how the story really unfolds.  It was quite the page turner for me.  I haven’t seen the movie, period films and romance films are not my usual forte, also I used to be deathly terrified of clowns (IDK why I am not anymore) but after reading this, I definitely want to check it out.

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