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Water for Elephants Audiobook

Water for Elephants

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Two narrators weave together strands of a story spanning decades. David LeDoux portrays the lead character in his twenties and John Randolph Jones is the same character 70 years later. Both are excellent, but Jones' rough bass filled my head with the joys and pain felt by the old man, in a way that the voice I hear when I read to myself could never have done. One of the most outstanding audiobooks I've ever heard! —Beth Anderson

Publisher's Summary

An atmospheric tale of life and love in a Depression-era traveling circus.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award, Adult Fiction, 2007
  • Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, Unabridged, 2007

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (17223 )
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4.4 (9370 )
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4.6 (9291 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Dublin, OH, United States 05-31-10
    Kathy Dublin, OH, United States 05-31-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    Overall
    "Such a great book!"

    I was drawn into this book from the minute it started because of the actors. They did such an amazing job! I can still hear the "old" Jacob in my head when I think about the story. The voice of August was wonderful as well. Some books are just better listened to than read. Its like I'm attending a great performance every time I put my headphones on. It was a wonderful story as well!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Lovelace Louisville 05-19-10
    Lawrence Lovelace Louisville 05-19-10 Member Since 2016
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    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Easy read"

    Great car book! After the first five minutes I was hooked!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Freyda metairie, LA, United States 05-11-10
    Freyda metairie, LA, United States 05-11-10 Member Since 2005
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    8
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    "fabulous"

    Absolutely engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    School Nurse Cindy WV 05-10-10 Member Since 2016

    I've been listening to audio books for years and have been an audible subscriber for ? 10 years maybe? A long time anyway.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "charming"

    A great listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda A. Wright 05-03-10 Member Since 2016

    I'm a recovering librarian. Since I had a stroke in 2002 I have found reading print difficult. I am so grateful for audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reads like a memoir"

    Wonderful description of the Depression era circus life in grizzly detail mixed with poignant and very funny sections of life in a nursing home.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cat F. 04-22-10
    Cat F. 04-22-10

    I read it as if I wrote it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Complete Experience"

    Fully-fleshed characters, firm plot, tears at all the right places, gripping drama, two astounding narrators and a skillful author. Even the little bits of music added were perfect. I mourn the ending of this book but not the ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Victorville, CA, USA 04-17-10
    Diana Victorville, CA, USA 04-17-10 Member Since 2015
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    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    "Best Audible I have ever listened to"

    I love this book! The characters come to life as you listen to the tale of the main character, young and old. Beautifully narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Cumberland, RI, USA 04-16-10
    Patricia Cumberland, RI, USA 04-16-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    10
    2
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    "Far better than I ever expected it would be"

    This book brought me to tears on several occasions due to the harshness and the beauty contained within the story itself, but I am so very happy that I held out to the end. Oh, what an ending, thank you! This story will appeal to those of us who know how perceptive and intelligent animals really are and also how wonderful and, at times horrible, humans can be.
    Several friends have complained of not being able to get into the printed version of this book but I found the audio version to be fascinating from start to finish. I listen in my car to and from work and while cleaning house since these are the only bits of free time I really have these days - outside of a long haul flight. I was brought up in a home filled with avid readers, from the time I was 5 I always had a book in my hands. Discovering audio books has been a God-send. Now I cannot wait to get to my commute or housekeeping to find out what happens next!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Fish 04-15-10
    Kathy Fish 04-15-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    118
    12
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    "The audio was as entertaining as the book."

    One of those "laugh out loud" experiences created by great content and excellent narration. Kudos to you both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri M 04-12-10
    Teri M 04-12-10 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    37
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    "Fantastic read"

    I loved this book and hated for it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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