Saturday, 26 January 2019

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Apparently I love reading books set in the circus, who knew? The Night Circus was one of my favourite books from early last year and now Water for Elephants has joined it on my LOVE list!

“Life is the most spectacular show on earth.”

I’m a sucker for stories that weave back and forth between the past and present day, it might just be one of my favourite literary techniques. Jacob Jankowski, who is in his 90s and currently residing in a nursing home, recounts the memories of his youth when he joined the circus following a tragic event in his life. Elderly Jacob is hilarious, there’s still some fight left in him as he loses his temper when a new resident claims to have carried water for elephants in the circus many years ago. Which if you had actually worked as part of a circus, you would know to be practically impossible!

There’s just so many great characters I don’t know where to begin. But a special shoutout must go to the character with the biggest personality - Rosie the elephant. I loved her!! And it really reminded me of when I visited an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. They really do seem to have their own mischievous personalities - AND it has one of the cutest doggos ever, Queenie!

I found the love story slightly unrealistic... it seemed to fall into the category of “love at first sight” and I just can’t abide those stories. Marlena herself just felt a little bland too, but this is really only a minor complaint. Luckily the circus had plenty of other interesting characters to make up for her - Camel and Walter, for example.

Certain events are heartbreaking - trigger warnings for some animal abuse :( - but the book is mostly wonderfully atmospheric and a lot of fun! I’d consider this to be the first real success in my "30 books to read before 30" challenge AND my first 5 star read of the year!


1 comment :

  1. Seems like a dumb swap deal, but who am I to judge?


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