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Showing 1-10 of 3,424 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 8,077 reviews
on September 7, 2016
This is a book where I had actually seen the movie first, which then made me want to read the novel. The circus seems to bring out the optimistic and wide-eyed child in us all, and this story was no different. You come to care about the animal and humans alike in this novel and find yourself wrapped inside their world before you know it. I fairly much inhaled this book over two evenings, and seeing the movie didn't curb my sense of excitement and mystery as I worked through the story. At the end I had the thought, yet again, that we all seemed to be doomed nowadays to reaching our end of life years and being forgotten by our families regardless of how amazing our former selves have lived our lives. This book helps to remind us all that ordinary people have extraordinary tales to tell if we would just bother to slow down and listen.
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on September 11, 2017
Water for Elephants was nothing like I expected it to be like. I expected it to be just some boring summer reading book that I would have to force myself to read. Once I started reading it however, I seriously could not put it down. I read this book where ever and when ever I could. The way Sara Gruen starts the book and has him as an old man and his past self is so funny and cool to me. Jacob's old man self has lots of kick in him still, I was smiling the whole time he talked about walking over to the circus and meeting that nice man that let him rejoin it after all those years. His younger self I fell into absolute love with too, how kind he was towards everyone and just wanted the best for them. The way he starts off his journey and just HAPPENS to jump onto a at train that needed a veterinarian is so ironic. His extremely stressful and caring relationship with Marcela is so sweet too, they both share so much compassion for both the animals and each other. When August beats Rosie with the bull hook, Marcela and Jacob are so enraged and saddened for the poor innocent elephant. Everyone in the book (except August and the ringmaster) are so kind and helpful towards each other. My favorite character duo in the book was definitely Kinko and Queenie. They were so funny and cute together, Kinkos love for Queenie was so moving and adorable, you could truly feel his heartbreak when he thought he left Queenie behind on the train. I loved how all of the good characters cared for each other and how Sara Gruen truly wrote an amzing book. At some points during the book I was actually laughing, in awe, or had my mouth wide open in surprise. The ending was so sweet and giving. I honestly loved this book and wished there was a a part 2 to it.
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on September 12, 2017
The book "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen shows that although grief can be overwhelming, it can make people branch out and try new things. This page turner is about a young college student names Jacob Jankowski, whose parent's death causes him to leave veterinary school and join the circus. He takes a job as the animal caretaker and meets a beautiful circus performer, whom he falls in love with, however someone is standing in the way. This book was incredibly well written, as it takes place in two different time periods; one when Jacob is young and one when Jacob is old. Water for Elephants is filled with eye opening quotes about life and appreciating the moment. This one stuck out to me because it is a great reminder to live your life now before you get too old. It says, Even in your twenties you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three, you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen. It's a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm – you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you're not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it. (1.2)'' I recommend this page turner to anyone looking for a heartfelt, nostalgic read.
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on September 11, 2017
The story Water for Elephants was beautifully told in the perspectives of teenage Jacob Jankowski on his adventure with the circus and dealing with grief, and 90 year Jacob, alone and forgotten in a nursing home with little patience for the people around him. After his parents died in a horrible accident, Jacob decides to quit college and run away. While running away, he comes across a train, which just so happens to be a circus train. There, he joins the circus as the official vet and tells the story of his experience. This book is beautiful and twisted at the same time. It is brutally honest with the abuse that happens outside the big top and the relationships between the people in it. Although it is hard to choose a genre for this book because of all of the events occurring, Sara Gruen did an amazing job. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time! It was the perfect combination of romance, humor, action and history. There was never a dull moment! Water for Elephants is just the kind of book the world needs to read, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone!
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on September 10, 2017
I read Water for Elephants this past summer for a school summer assignment and I for the most part enjoyed it. I mostly loved the setting, because a circus is so uncommon and it introduced so many diverse and new types of characters that I have never encountered in any of my other book. The book is set in the 1930’s and it focuses on a 20 year old boy named jacob who falls deeply in love with a woman named Marlena who is married. As you can expect this creates many berserk scenes which were so fun to read. Also I, being a girl, fell so in love with the main character Jacob. He is so kindhearted, smart, intelligent, and he stands up for Marlena and his friends throughout the whole book which easily made him my favorite character.

Things I didn’t like as much about the book is that it was very descriptive about all the settings or people's appearances and some scenes were slightly provocative so anyone who is deciding whether or not to buy this book I would suggest being of the mature age. Another critique I had was that there were some scenes that seemed very unrealistic, mostly referring to one toward the end with the elephant and Marlena's husband August.

Overall I thought it was a very interesting and exciting book that I would recommend to anyone who loves epic love stories or someone who is wanting to get out of their comfort zone and read a book with a completely different plot and setting than they have ever read before. I don’t think anyone will regret reading it.
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on September 12, 2017
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is an astonishing book that displays 2 narratives of Jacob's past and present life. It starts from the perspective of Jacob as an elderly man in a nursing home clinging on to memories of his young life in the circus after hearing another older man lie about carrying water for elephants. As Jacob tells his story you see how a boy that lost almost everything due to his parent's death risks, even more, to be apart of a circus. The circus has a unique group of people yet in classified by importance to the show. This causes some major conflict such as not treated the lower workers with same respect or same care when sick. In the circus, Jacob meets Marlena a key character in the novel that is the wife of August a ringmaster. Jacob and Marlena develop a romantic relationship although she is married. Jacob goes throughout the book trying to keep his poor friends from getting kicked off the train, keeping him and Marlena a secret and keeping the animals safe. These stories are told because Jacobs elderly life at the nursing home to him is boring and is longing for the adventure which he soon gets again.
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on September 11, 2017
I had to read this book for my english class, and I won’t lie I really didn’t want to. Yet after I got to chapter three I was hooked, I couldn’t put the book down. Water For Elephants gives you a different outlook on the circus and how they treat the people and animals that work for them. If you are a hopeless romantic and love a good heartthrob this is the book for you, if not there is many of other things for you. All in all the beginning of the book isn’t very eye catching, there should’ve been more of a hook in the prologue. During the book, the chapters go from present to past which gives you an interesting way to look at the plot and what is happening in the chapters. You can tell the author did his research because of the way the characters talk and the history that is weaved throughout the whole book.
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on September 11, 2017
Water for Elephants overall was a decent book, but I would not call it one of my favorites. There were very few parts in the book that was shocking or interesting. Although it gives great detail, some of it is unnecessary. I did like the ending because it revealed that it was not Marlena who killed August; it was Rosie, an elephant. It seemed intriguing at first from reading the summary, but in my opinion, it was not as good as it sounded. It was very predictable, and it never had that "wow" moments besides the ending. I prefer more action packed and cliff hanger books that leave me on the edge of my seat. It does include romance, so if you like romance books this is a good choice. But if you're looking for a thrilling book, Water for Elephants is not for you.
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on September 11, 2017
Water for Elephants, was a very good and entertaining read. I really enjoyed the author's style of writing. I think she put the perfect amount of details and explanation throughout the story. However, one thing that I really didn't care for was some of the characters in this book got killed very abruptly and I didn't feel like I had enough time to prepare for it. The drama of Jacob standing up for Marlena against August, "So, he ends up dragging her by the neck as she screams. I launch across the open space and tackle him." It gives the book a big expansion of drama and nail biting moments.
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on October 24, 2012
This book begins and ends with the main character, Jacob Jankowski, in his 90's and residing in a nursing home. He doesn't remember how old he is or even the people that take turns coming to visit him. But what he does remember more than makes up for his current state of boredom. The beginning reminded me of Stephen King's "The Green Mile". The author obviously had to do a great deal of research into circus life during the depression in order to write this book. What she found does not make a pleasant story. Being an animal lover, the cruelty displayed toward the animals, especially Rosie the elephant, really disturbed me. I still have a hard time believing that Jacob, who had nearly received his degree as a veterinarian and loved Rosie, would not have done more to prevent it. The cruelty displayed towards the employees was just as bad. Railroad goons would actually push workers off moving trains in the middle of the night rather than pay them. I thought the affair between Jacob and Marlena was not as torrid as it should have been. Rosie was my favorite character - she was described in human terms which made the cruelty more difficult to endure. In the end, both the peon workers and Rosie got even. But that was not even the ending that made this book such a great read. I was so excited when I read the ending, I had to tell someone about it! It was the best ending ever!!
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