Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Review: Water for Elephants

Surprising, poignant, and funny, Water for Elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.
This book is written from two perspectives: that of a ninety-year-old protagonist who is living in a nursing home, and the just-out-of-vet-school protagonist who runs away with the circus (the same man at different ages). I am currently working in a nursing home, and I used to perform with a circus. So you can guess why this book appealed to me!

Jacob Jankowski is the protagonist of this story. In some reviews I have read that some of the characters, in particular Marlena, were shallow and under developed, but I don't agree with this. I think that Jacob was designed to be the main character and all of the other characters were built off of his perspective. Not to say that he thought Marlena was bland, but he was simply in love with her. This is not a spoiler because he basically falls in love with her the moment he sees her. For those of us who have found true love, it may be easier to believe than those who haven't. Jacob is works a veterinarian, and Marlena has a marvelous way with animals, particularly horses, as well as a love and sensitivity for them which Jacob shares.

This isn't a happy-go-lucky story about clowns and dancing elephants. This is the real side of a traveling circus - the dark, dirty, honest side of performing life that has to stay hidden in order for people to enjoy the show.

I would definitely recommend this book. I gave it four stars because I would have loved even more character development. I love my characters! There was a loose metaphor in the story, but the final message failed me. It was a great story that will certainly take you on an emotional roller coaster. It is also a cultural and historical journey into a different world. 

Have you read Water for Elephants? What did you think?

Also, are you a member of GoodReads? If you love to read and love to blog, you should consider it! I just love reading other people's reviews of books I have read. Especially ones that have a different opinion than me... is that weird?


  1. Awesome review! No i have not read WFE...but I will now! I'm super into historical fiction at the moment (as you could tell from my own blog post) let me know if you have any must read recommendations in that genre!

  2. the book looks interesting....Thanks for sharing!