Review Blog

Sep 14 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-74237-447-5.
(Age 16+) Highly recommended. Written in alternating persons Sara Gruen has divided up into the re-telling of Jacob's earlier life and his golden years in this historically accurate novel. Water for Elephants is set in the nineteen thirties and follows the splendid story of a travelling circus as it makes its way through the American countryside.
Cornell educated, Jacob Jankowski joins The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth as their much needed vet. Being the menagerie man Jacob is one of the first to meet their new arrival, a bull elephant daubed Rosie. 'She's fifty-three, and she's perfectly brilliant,' or so says Uncle Al, the owner of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.
Jacob Jankowski is ninety or is it ninety three? His mind is playing tricks on him again but there is one thing he knows. He was part of a circus, and not just any circus. The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth!
Poetic, unique but most of all I found that Water for Elephants was an enthralling romance novel and I could barely tear my eyes away. I love stories that switch between different periods in time and Water for Elephants is a perfect example of this as Sara Gruen has blended two stories into one to create a finely wrought text. A compelling story and I would highly recommend it for anyone over the age of sixteen.
Kayla Gaskell, (Student, aged 15)

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