Daily Archives: March 15, 2008

Water for Elephants

Well, I finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen this weekend. I read a fairly good chunk of it riding the BART railway system to and from San Francisco. I read more when I got home, and I even snuck out of my mom’s dinner party to go to my room and finish reading the last 20 pages of the novel.

Its beautifully written, the ending was not disappointing, and the characters were incredibly rich in personality, and full of secrets.

I read somewhere that Jacob in this novel is supposed to have some kind of connection to Jacob from the Bible. I’m not too familiar with Jacob’s story, so I’ll probably read up on it tonight before trying to make sense of the novel.

There is a steady pace in the book, the author’s transitions between the two timelines are well thought-out and vey fluid. I actually wish Jacob Jankowski was a real human that I could meet and speak too. I know I’m young, and have the whole world ahead of me, but its reading books like these that really help me appreciate everything I go through, the good and the bad.

I have two main motto’s in life that I live by.

1. If something is going to be funny 5 years from now, why wait? Why not laugh about it now?

2. Life is full of stories. The more stories the better.

I think that’s why I read so much, and am able to deal with life’s obstacles so well. I think of everything in my life as another story to share, and laugh over, or share and cry over. Either way, its a story, its a way to build a connection between two people.

So, about the book:

Plot-wise, I can’t complain. Even the worst of the characters were some kind of curiosities. This story provides a new twist on the whole love-story with its obstacles, by throwing all parties onto a traveling circus filled with social discrimination, hierarchies of the performers and crew, and to top if off, its all set in the 1930’s during prohibition and towards the start of the Great Depression when jobs are scarce and resources are highly limited. The animals play a huge role in this story, only because of the odd and biased hierarchy in the Benzini Brother’s Circus. There are moments of animal cruelty that I am rather grateful the author did not embellish or even spend more than a few sincere sentences on.

I can’t begin to image what life could h ave been like back then, in such desperate situations. I think I’ll go look up the story of Jacob before I go to bed. He was a strong, silent, and very emotional character in the book. So much of the plot is driven by emotion, rather an logic. Depression is a major theme as well, it engulfs the entire book, but there are still glimmers of hope and optimism that pop out every once in a while.

I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book, it was worth the wait.

Find this book at your local library