BibliographyGruen, Sara. Water for Elephants. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2006.
Plot SummaryThis novel is written as a biography of one Jacob Jankowski, a veterinarian student that finds himself working for the circus. The novel spans seventy years and uses flashbacks to transport the reader from the past to the present and back to the past.
This was a great summer read! During lunchtime, I would sit outside and let myself "go" to the circus. I enjoyed the characters and the plot development. I learned about the other side of circus life---the life that "rubes" don't know about--the life that could mean life or death by the flick of a wrist. I became attached to the humans and the animals. I felt compassion for all.
Included are pictures (most from Ringling Brothers' archive) depicting different scenes of the circus life.
This is a love story, a mystery novel, and a testament to friendships that are made in life. I despised Uncle Al and August. I feel for Camel and Walter and wonder how many others live without families--even when they have one.
I enjoyed how Gruen intertwined the narrative. The prologue is actually part of Chapter 22. The use of flashbacks is not confusing but quite pertinent to the story. They occur when thoughts are interrupted.
VERY GOOD SUMMER READ!