Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants


Orphaned, penniless, Jacob Jankowski jumps a freight train in the dark, and in that instant, transforms his future.

By morning, he's landed a job with the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. By nightfall, he's in love.

In an America made colourless by prohibition and the Depression, the circus is a refuge of sequins and sensuality. But behind the glamour lies a darker world, where both animals and men are dispensable. Where falling in love is the most dangerous act of all... (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)


I love- love- loved this book.  I have noticed all kinds of reviews on goodreads and a consistent theme of folks who were disappointed had high expectations going into it.  I had very low expectations so I am not sure if that’s why I enjoyed it so much.  I had been meaning to read this book due to reviews, but I kept putting it off because there wasn’t something in the summary to really capture my attention.  Let me tell you, I was blown away.  JUST GIVE IT A SHOT.  It will capture your attention and you’ll be sucked into the whirlwind adventure and romance that will keep you wondering what is next.

The narrator is an aging parent in his 90’s and I have to say, I immediately called my grandparents to say hi after this book.  It provides and incredibly realistic and (from what I’ve seen) accurate description of what it’s like to grow old.  As Jacob struggles with age, we have flashbacks to his life in the circus during the depression and prohibition.  It’s not only a story about the circus, but a love story, adventure and a commentary on some of the less politically correct aspects of the circus in the 1930’s.

I haven’t seen the movie, but am quite interested to see it now.   Like “The Notebook”, the directors will have to do it just right to make it as good of a story.  Regardless, the ending of this book is fantastic…and has inspired me to keep a few options open when I get late in life.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone looking for a vicarious historical journey or with aging parents.  I think it’ll give you a second look!