Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Favorite Reads: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

In My Favorite Reads each week I feature one of my favorite reads from the past. October is National Reading Group Month, so I am featuring books all month that I read with my book club and thoroughly liked. They also led to good discussions. This month is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Summary (from GoodReads):
"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.

Why I chose this book:
Another book I thought was overly hyped and overly literate that was required reading for my book club (which I thank regularly for helping me get over my preconceived notions so I can read popular books relevant today which is crucial for my job, but the preconceptions don't go away.) And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a fun, fast, exciting read with a great ending. It's a tad pulpy and melodramatic and the villain is a bit over the top, but one forgives these things in a rollicking romp.


Teacher/Learner said...

I have this on my TBR shelf. Glad you liked it despite the hype. I hope the Robert Pattinson Twilight craze won't overshadow the movie version.

tediousandbrief said...

Very cool. I first saw this book on the bestseller list at, I think, a Borders and didn't pay much attention to it.

Then I won a copy of this book on another blogger's site a couple of months ago, but haven't had a chance to actually read it yet. I'm looking forward to. :)

Alyce said...

I really liked this one too. It was one of the first audiobooks I listened to, and I thought it was well written and well narrated.

Arielle said...

I loved this book too, especially Jacob! I was also a little skeptic about it, I'm like that with all hyped books but was really glad that I read it :-)