Historical fiction? CHECK. Adorable animals? Check! Love story? Check check check. This book hits all the notes, and has a story that will completely keep you captivated. Should we talk about the movie? No…no we shouldn’t.
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen follows an orphaned almost-vet, Jacob Jankowski. He abandons his schooling and jumps on a freight train in the dead of night, and it thrusts him into a new and unknown life. He stumbles on a job as a veterinarian for a traveling circus, and falls in love with Marlena, the wife of the director of the circus. Set in the midst of the depression and prohibition, the circus provides a sense of relief to the towns it stops in.
Follow your main character through a colorful life, saving a damsel in distress, and uniting with the most unlikely of friends. This book is threaded with incredible and poignant visuals, drama, humor, and a deep sense of good versus evil. You’ll feel as though you’re an audience member of the second rate Benzini Brother’s show.
If you like historical fiction, check this one out. If you’ve seen the movie….still check it out. It’s much much much better. It’s not going to change your life, and it’s not thick with lessons or incredible character development, but it’s a good read, and it does have a heart.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Length: 331 pages
Favorite Quote: “Age is a terrible thief. Just when you’re getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse.”
Best time and place to read it: Drinking lemonade, eating peanuts, and laying in a field under a tent.
If you liked this check out: The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty, “At the Water’s Edge” by Sara Gruen.