Book Review- Water for Elephants

I recently finished reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I am very glad I did!! If you want to skip over the thrifty book shopping section, go down a paragraph. So, as always I was reading book reviews of this on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. That is just how I decide whether I will like the book or not before I spend the money.  I was planning on going to B and N to pick it up, but on a whim I checked first. Luckily Target offers most of their books at around 20-30 % off on their books!  I bought mine there instead and saved 4 dollars, paying around 12 dollars. I have learned my lesson.  I have always been a huge Barnes and Noble customer, and I still am, but now with as many books as I buy I check local used bookstores and Target before I purchase.

OK, now on to the book review! As I was reading this book, it quickly rose to become my favorite book that I have read in a long time! Usually it is the tried and true classics that take this spot, so I was amazed! This is truly what I would call a “modern classic.”  This book is a fictional memoir of a man named Jacob Jankowski, who, as a 23 year old, drops out of Cornell’s veterinary college after his parents’ death.  He has nothing left in the world  excepting the clothes on his back, so  he jumps a train. That particular train happens to be a circus train, home of the traveling “Benzini Bros. Most Spectacular Show on Earth.”  This is where Jacob’s life really begins to start over, although he has trouble along the way, dealing with ruthless bosses and falling desperately in love with a married woman. Sprinkled throughout the book every few chapters is 93 year old Jacob, recounting those adventurous years. Not to be forgotten is Rosie, a beautiful elephant that, unlike what you would expect,  fills the lead role of this book with amazing charm and grace.

Water for Elephants has a realism that makes you feel as if you belong in the story, as if you are the story.  Throughout this book I had to continually remind myself that this was not a real memoir, just fiction, although to the reader the characters become as dear as if they were real friends. It has the feel of one of those quaint black and white romance movies.  There is a depth of love and character that is lacking in some modern novels.  Pair all of this with a surprise ending that will make you smile, and you have a book that meets even the highest standards of excellence!  Besides, what more could you expect? There is a reason this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller!


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