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Publisher's Summary

Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. In the Depression era, 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: Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus' animal trainer); and Rosie, the seemingly untrainable elephant Jacob cares for.

©2006 Sara Gruen (P)2006 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"This marvelously exciting and satisfying book has been given the engaging audio production it deserves." (Audiofile)
"Water for Elephants is fun, sweet and thrilling and will pull you into the mysterious life of the circus so far that you won't want to leave." (Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • ptuff
  • 03-02-16

excellent story, well told.


this was a superb tale, well crafted and smoothly narrated . I was transported to the circus and felt the graft and grime of the reality of a travelling show years ago, while being immersed in a love story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs
  • 03-27-17

loved it

this made a nice change from the novels I usually read. It was a good story, well told. I cared about the characters which, for me is essential.

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  • Mrs
  • 03-13-17

Great book. A definite must.

What did you like most about Water for Elephants?

I can't choose one aspect of this book. I thought both narrators were brilliant, the way the story switched between the young and old man were exceptionally good. I couldn't put it down.

What other book might you compare Water for Elephants to, and why?

I can't think of another book which so brilliantly juxtaposes two periods in a life. The handling of the old Jacob was particularly sensitive.

Have you listened to any of David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't heard either of them before. I think they were both first class. John Randolph Jones made me cry more than once.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

From the beginning there were many and the ending was very good as well.

Any additional comments?

Read it and love it - although I know nothing about circus life it seemed very authentic and dreadful.



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  • Meena Kadri
  • 05-16-17

I actually found it depressing

I was so excited to listen to this but I actually found it quite depressing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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