Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Water For Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pages: 350
Source: My purchase
ISBN: 978-1565125605

Jacob is a student at Cornell University. He is studying to be a veterinarian so he can join his father's veterinarian practice. This doesn't happen because his parents are killed in a car crash. When he returns home to take care of things he finds out his parents were in debt and there is nothing to salvage. They had taken out a mortgage on the house for his college. Trying to deal with his loss he falls apart and finds himself walking away from school and jumping onto a train. He suddenly finds out he has jumped on a circus train. He is hired to do several small jobs until the owner learns of his veterinary experience. He is then the veterinarian for the circus. A catastrophe takes place and the circus is shut down. All of this is told in the prologue. The first chapter opens up with Jacob now in a nursing home and sitting at a dinner table with a newcomer to the home. The ladies at the next table are talking about the circus that has come to their town. The newcomer tells them that he used to carry water for the elephants in the circus. Jacob calls him a liar and creates such havoc that they must take him back to his room. It is from this point on we are treated to his memories of his life in the circus. I really enjoyed this book. I needed a book for a reding challenge. I had to pick a book that I observed someone reading. I was sitting on the terrace of Ca'D'Zan, the former home of John and Mable Ringling, on the grounds of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. It is one of my favorite places to sit and read during the summer and on weekends. There I saw a woman reading Water for Elephants. I thought it would be very appropriate due to the location of where I first saw this book. Since purchasing it I have read many blogs where people have put it on their TBR pile. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to share it with my friends.


  1. I've got this on my tbr list for the Awards reading challenge, so I'm glad you liked it. My family has a mobile home on the same road as the Ringling Museum, in Bradington. I haven't been inside the museum because of difficulty walking but I've been past it a hundred times, looking in longingly. I bet it is a nice place to sit and read. I really look forward to reading this now.

  2. First of all, congrats on finishing this challenge!!!

    Second, I read this same book for the same challenge -- except mine was for the "Random Bestseller." I just loved this book ... it had such a sense of atmosphere and time and place. I see why it was such a big deal a few years back. I'll be writing my review soon.

    And that is the most appropriate spot to see someone reading this book! It would have made the museum so much more meaningful. I really liked that there were photos in the the book -- it really added to the reading experience!

  3. I loved this book too and what a great story with how you found it!! I finally found my 'public spying' book yesterday on the train and picked it up last night. I'm hoping to get started reading this weekend.

  4. Nice review. I've seen a lot of buzz about this book but must admit I never even knew anything about it. Sounds very interesting.