Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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Author: Sara Gruen
Date: 2006
Genre: Drama
Overall Rating: 9/10

So I was sitting at the airport waiting for my plane, when it occurred to me I should probably find some sort of reading material to keep me occupied on my 4-hour long flight. I headed into the Hudson Bookseller's shop and stumbled upon this lovely little treasure, Water for Elephants. Now, it didn't get my attention immediately, since I was first aiming for Johanna Lindsey's That Perfect Someone. Thankfully, I made up my mind and got the good book. Sorry, Lindsey.

Now let me tell you before I dive into my review, that I am in no way a fast reader, considering it usually takes me at least a month or two to finish at least half of a book sometimes. But the second I picked up Water for Elephants, I couldn't put it down. I had the book read within 3 days time, and that is quite an accomplishment for someone who is a slow reader, like me. This book has everything you could ask for: comedy, violence, smut, romance, an elephant...

I was drawn into the story immediately thanks to Gruen's smooth writing. The details were vivid and believable. I was able to connect with Jacob Jankowski through the emotions Gruen had allowed us to experience with him through her writing. My heart was aching for him as I read about his entire life turning upside down and inside out. I especially loved reading parts of the story that involved August, since he was the most up-down character I've ever read about. His moodiness and possessive personality were a potent mix, and I couldn't help but want to see how the situations he was placed in would be carried out. The raw emotion Gruen put into her characters really enabled me to become engulfed in her story more and more.

The setting of the story was magnificently described. I can honestly say I was absolutely disgusted when I read about the grittiness of the train and run-down cities the circus fell upon. Gruen really gave the reader a feel for how depressed the country was, especially after including a scene with several homeless teenagers. Gruen also did an impeccable job at creating an old-time circus atmosphere, which amusingly, she had never witnessed before writing this book.

I don't want to give away much more, so I'll leave my rambling at that. Overall, it's an amazing read. If you ever find yourself in an airport, or if you're just in search of a good book, pick up Water for Elephants. You won't regret it.