Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

First sentence:

"Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook."


"Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out — orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive "ship of fools." It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act — in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival." -- from the publisher

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about circus life during the Great Depression. I especially like the way the author skillfully wove in historic facts such as an elephant not understanding English and the problem "jake leg" which was caused by tainted Jamaica ginger.

Date read: 11/18/2009
Book #: 57
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0739474979
ISBN-13: 9780739474976
Publisher: Algonquin
Year: 2006
# of Pages: 331
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

1 comment:

Marg said...

I loved this book when I read it a few years ago!