Water For Elephants: Book Review

Apr 30, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Books & Tales, Contributors, Every Other Book, Teens

by Amanda Hager

A novel is just too simple of a word to describe this story of Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student at Cornell, and his compelling journey through life and love and the struggle to find himself in the world. He starts out with the perfect life: supportive parents, college education, he had everything going for him. But it all came to a sudden halt when his parents are killed in a car crash and he finds he has no money and no home, which leads to him throwing away his vet career by turning in his final examinations blank.

Feeling unwanted and alone in the world, Jake decides to climb aboard a moving train without caring where it’s heading, only to discover he is traveling on the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth circus train.

Jake is taken under the wing of August, the understudy to head honcho Uncle Al who runs the whole circus. When word gets out that Jake was a student at Cornell for Vet Science, Uncle Al appoints him to be the veterinarian for his animals. August and Jake become the best of friends and their love-hate friendship adds to the humor of Jake’s adventures on the circus route.

All is going well until one day Jake catches his first glimpse of Marlena, August’s beautiful performing wife. When August catches on about the connection brewing between Jake and Marlena, the whole circus is turned upside down. They soon learn to be careful as to who they trust. Did I mention there was an elephant who understood Polish? This book has so many surprises and twists it was hard to put it down.

Jake’s roller coaster ride through the circus life and a potentially dangerous love life, gives readers much anticipation on what could possibly happen next. Water For Elephants is now on my favorites list, and I am excited for the movie to premiere. Sara Gruen has written an amazing book about life and love through pain and hardship, providing an interesting and compelling look at life in a circus during the depression.


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Check out KRL’s review of the movie Water For Elephants!

Amanda Hager is 17 years old & a senior at Reedley High School where she is a member of the Pirate Marching Band. She began writing in 5th grade & has always had a passion for it, winning some writing contests over the years.

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