Never judge a book by it's cover; that is what you always hear, but when I saw the beautiful cover of Water for Elephants just knew it would be a good read! As the cover suggests this is a story about the hey day of the traveling circus told through the eyes of a cranky old man in a nursing home. When we first meet Jacob Jankowski he is either ninety or ninety-three (he can't remember) in a nursing home complaining about old age and the way the nurses talk to him like a child. Then Jacob starts to tell the story if his life as a young man during the Prohibition and how he found a life for himself in the traveling circus after his parents died. He meets all sorts of characters like Walter the dwarf clown and his dog Queenie; Camel, the drunk that ends up drinking some moon shine and developing Jake Leg; Rosie the Polish Elephant; Uncle Al the Ring Master; and Marlena, Jacobs first love.
Every chapter of this book bounces you back and forth between modern day in the nursing home and whatever adventure Jacob is reminiscing over during his circus days. I couldn't decided which part of the book I liked the best. When we were in present day I had strong emotions for Jacob. I felt so bad for him waisting away in the nursing home with no family visiting him and when he talked he reminded me of my Grandpa and it just brought tears to my eyes that his good ol' days were over and all he had left were his memories and stories. But then as soon as he started telling stories of Rosie the mischievous elephant that only knew commands in Polish I was sure it was the circus stories that I loved the most. Either way I couldn't put this book down and I ate up every detail of the time era and the way life in the circus would have been during the Prohibition.
This would be another great book turned movie and a little birdie told me that Fox 2000 is well on it's way with the film for a 2010 release date!!!! Hooray!!!
Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen
If you like this book also read: The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks