Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets the freaks, grifters, and misfits that populate this world. Jacob introduces us to Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; to August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus' animal trainer); and to Rosie, a seemingly untrainable elephant.
Beautifully written, with a luminous sense of time and place, Water for Elephants tells of love in a world in which love's a luxury few can afford.
©2006 Sara Gruen; (P)2006 HighBridge Company
"Water for Elephants resembles stealth hits like The Giant's House, by Elizabeth McCracken, or The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. . . . With a showman's expert timing, [Gruen] saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale.” (New York Times Book Review)
"Just like a circus, the magic of the story and the writing convince you to suspend your disbelief." (Booklist)
"Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes, and freaks who populate her book." (Publishers Weekly)
I'm only half way through the book and I can't stop listening....there's something magical about the circus in the 1920-30's depression era.
This is definitely an ADULT ONLY book...there are some sections of adult content that children and some teens should not hear. Some people who reviewed this book used those sections to based their decision for not liking it, but i think it gives the book a more realistic feel and some of them are funny...well the made me laugh.
Really enjoyed this book, wasn't too sure about it in the beginning, but the book shocked me and made me laugh!
I think this book was good, but the suspense was highly lacking. If it hadn't been for the forward (which was a scene from the very end of the book), I'm not sure there would have been much interest on my part at all. The narrators were alright, but lacked good character voices. All in all though, I still enjoyed it. A fun little book.
I was only really interested in listening to this book due to the high praise of many of my co-workers(who happen to be female) and their chit chat about the book. I took a chance after listening to the brief sample recording and I will say that I enjoyed this book from the start. I thought this would be like any Nicholas Sparks book and just be predictable and sappy to the end, with maybe a few main characters dying in between. I was way off the mark, it's a very descriptive book from both perspectives utilizing 2 narrators to read the same character...his young self from the past, and his older self from the present. I was not only moved by this book, but I really felt for him throughout the story...I usually listen to thrillers/supernatural/mysteries but this one stood out like no other. It's def. worth a credit.
I've been listening to books on CD etc. for several years and found this to be one of the best books I've ever listened to. You won't be disappointed.
This book is narrated quite nicely by two men. They did a great job. I, however, was completely annoyed by the musical transitions. However, I would listen to it again.
I have listened to a lot of audio books and this is by far onw of the best. Great story, great narration. I felt so bad for the old man - the narration is wonderful.
I have never liked circus. I have been there twice and I do not think I ever go again. I loved the book for its honesty and the way it seeps through your heart, making you, with all of its reality, more HUMAN than you were before reading it. I was crying, I was laughing and I felt deeply ALIVE when listening to the thrilling narration of the Audible edition.
In my heart I am sending Angels to stand by all people who work in circus all over the world and to all the animals, who happened to be in circus in this lifetime. Is circus a curse or a blessing? I am not the one to judge; do remember that I do not like circus for all the cruelly hard and seemingly unappreciated work people and animals are committed to in order to entertain the crowd...
I was son enraptured with this story i constantly found myself daydreaming about the circus and looking forward to getting in may car every chance I could to listen. And I was sad when it was over, I wanted it to go on forever. The story was unique and intense and the narrator for young Jacob was amazing and made it riveting. He did the characters such justice that the actors for the upcoming film have big shoes to fill (especially Robert Pattinson, I don't have much faith that he can pull it off).
"Water for Elephants"
Both strangely exotic and nostalgically familiar, this tale of tenderness found in the harsh reality of circus life and enduring love stolen from cruelty is captivating and entrancing. Told through the eyes and voices of an old timer and his younger self, it flips from past to present and back again with ease and manages to bring two stories together with equal strength and interest. A beautiful story that is beautifully read by the narrators.
I listened to this for a second time when I had exhausted my new supply while away.
And it was just as enthralling as the first listen.
Brilliantly written and wonderfully read by the two readers.
I can't recommend it highly enough - one of the best audibles I've listened to.
"A true love story"
A true love story written to thrive in the 21st Centry, from the charactors to the plot line its well written and addictive.........
"The film does not even get close."
I could not put this book down.
I remember exactly where I was when things happened in this book.
The character of the old man is explored to the fullest extend, this character made the story, and was completely overlooked in the film version.
Perfect for a holiday, or summer commutes, as I did.
Unusual subject and not one I would normally choose. It made me laugh and cry. Brilliant. Do read it
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this audiobook when I started listening to it as I found the hopping between the current and past a little hard going and the older person's voice difficult to understand at times. But, I'm glad I perservered with it. The story is very original and draws you in. Worth a listen
"Wonderfully engaging Big Top Book"
This book tells the story of a young man thrown into the life of a circus worker after his parents are killed. The wonderful transition between times takes the listening into two very different but equally compelling settings. Brilliant !!
"Great Original Story"
Great to read an original book for a change. I knew nothing about the american circus trains, and now I do! Takes place during the American Depression. The love story is a bit lame but otherwise a terrific listen.
"I Loved it!"
A really enjoyable listen, on a par with 'The Help'. This has been one of those books I couldn't wait to get back to; it was really well structured and well read, I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through. I highly recommend this audiobook.
"Enjoyed every single second …."
It left me wanting more…. I did not want the story to end. I laughed and cried. This is a tale simply told, an account that was both funny & sad, on times illustrating the cruelty inherent in some human beings and the goodness of others. The narration was outstanding, it brought the wonderful characters to life and I could really see them through ‘Jacobs’ eyes. It also made me think about the value we place on our elderly population. Can’t wait to watch the film, hope it lives up to the book.
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