Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I came across Water for Elephants quite by accident looking for something else on Amazon.Com’s Kindle Book page. I almost bought it then looking at the brief description, but for some reason I passed it up. Then later that same day I saw a movie trailer for the movie adaption and I thought to myself that it was a sign that I should read this book. I’m glad I made that connection.

Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob Jankowski who, thought pure luck, stumbles into the employ of a travelling Circus in 1931. The book is chiefly about the events of a few months while he was working with that outfit and how it changed his life forever. The story of the depression era is mixed in with chapters set seventy years later when he is in his 90’s and living in a nursing facility. The book is filled with intrigue, romance, heartache and tons of period texture about life in a travelling show.

I found the nursing home sequences particularly powerful because of the time I spent with my mother in a similar institution for the last year and a half of her life, but even with the pain that those sequences evoked I was captured by the story and while I was quite pleased with the ending I was sad to see it come so quickly and to have to say goodbye to my good friend Jacob. Happy Travels Jacob and thanks for the memories.

Jerry Sutton

I am, at heart, a software developer though I am currently managing a small Information Technology department for a mid sized company located in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. When I am not playing with the latest smart-phone or trying to become inspired to write code I read almost anything I can get my hands on from Pulp Era adventures to biographies of world leaders and everything in between.