Book Recommendation: Water for Elephants

“…if you expect people to try to do things your way, you’re going to have to give some hints as to what that way is.”


Publisher: Algonquin Books

Publication: April 9, 2007 (1st edition on May 26, 2006)

Page Number: 352

Sara Gruen wrote Water for Elephants which was adapted into a movie in 2011. This was her third novel. It was initially turned down by her original publisher so for all writers out there, keep writing and submitting your work. I remember this book being incredibly easy to read, making it a fast read. It’s a triad love story: between two different people, between entertainers and their animals, and among the various entertainers. It goes back and forth in time between the young and old Jacob Janowski with the primary focus on his life while in the circus. It is here where he connects with many people in the Benzini Brothers circus, most notably August and Marlena. Jacob’s connection and love for animals is obvious as his original career path was veterinarian work. There is brief touching on animal cruelty in circuses although not done in an overly graphic way. I won’t spoil the ending, but this was written to satisfy the reader first and a close second the writer. You can read between the lines. This was a book Gruen had fun writing.




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