Water for Elephants

Monday, January 28, 2008
Sara Gruen

Jacob Jankowski, the narrator and main character, is over 90 years old and tells the story of his life with the circus in the 1930’s. His parents died in an auto accident just before he was to take his final exams in veterinary medicine at Cornell University. Because his parents had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition, he was left destitute. In his despair, he ran away and found himself eventually accepted as the veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers Circus. He falls in love with a star performer who is the wife of the cruel animal trainer. This conflict keeps the reader turning the pages to find out more.

The author researched the details of the brutish conditions of 3rd rate circuses in the depression. She skillfully humanizes the various circus "freaks" and captures the magic of the "big acts". Ultimately she weaves a very intriguing story of historic romantic fiction.

Kathleen Z., Library Director

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