Excerpt from Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Water for Elephants

A Novel

by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2006, 335 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2007, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Well, I never," says Norma, pursing her lips and shaking her head. "I'm sure I don't know what's gotten into you, Mr. Jankowski."

Oh, I see, I see. So that's how it is.

"It's an outrage!" says McGuinty, leaning slightly toward Norma now that he sees he's got the popular vote. "I don't see why I should have to put up with being called a liar!"

"And an old coot," I remind him.

"Mr. Jankowski!" says the black girl, her voice raised. She comes behind me and releases the brakes on my wheelchair. "I think maybe you should spend some time in your room. Until you calm down."

"Now wait just a minute!" I shout as she swings me away from the table and toward the door. "I don't need to calm down. And besides, I haven't eaten!"

"I'll bring your dinner in," she says from behind.

"I don't want it in my room! Take me back! You can't do this to me!"

But it appears she can. She wheels me down the hall at lightning speed and turns sharply into my room. She jams the brakes on so hard the whole chair jars.

"I'll just go back," I say as she raises my footrests.

"You'll do no such thing," she says, setting my feet on the floor.

"This isn't fair!" I say, my voice rising in a whine. "I've been sitting at that

table forever. He's been there two weeks. Why is everyone siding with him?"

"Nobody's siding with anyone." She leans forward, slinging her shoulder under mine. As she lifts me, my head rests next to hers. Her hair is chemically straightened and smells of flowers. When she sets me on

the edge of the bed, I am at eye level with her pale pink bosom. And her name tag.

"Rosemary," I say.

"Yes, Mr. Jankowski?" she says.

"He is lying, you know."

"I know no such thing. And neither do you."

"I do, though. I was on a show."

She blinks, irritated. "How do you mean?"

I hesitate and then change my mind. "Never mind," I say.

"Did you work on a circus?"

"I said never mind."

There's a heartbeat of uncomfortable silence.

"Mr. McGuinty could have been seriously hurt, you know," she says, arranging my legs. She works quickly, efficiently, but stops just short of being summary.

"No he couldn't. Lawyers are indestructible."

She stares at me for a long time, actually looking at me as a person. For a moment I think I sense a chink. Then she snaps back into action. "Is your family taking you to the circus this weekend?"

"Oh yes," I say with some pride. "Someone comes every Sunday. Like clockwork."

She shakes out a blanket and spreads it over my legs. "Would you like me to get your dinner?"

"No," I say.

There's an awkward silence. I realize I should have added "thank you," but it's too late now.

"All right then," she says. "I'll be back in a while to see if you need anything else."

Yup. Sure she will. That's what they always say.

BUT DAGNAMMIT, HERE SHE IS.

"Now don't tell anyone," she says, bustling in and sliding my dinner-table-cum-vanity over my lap. She sets down a paper napkin, plastic fork, and a bowl of fruit that actually looks appetizing, with strawberries, melon, and apple. "I packed it for my break. I'm on a diet. Do you like fruit, Mr. Jankowski?"

I would answer except that my hand is over my mouth and it's trembling. Apple, for God's sake.

She pats my other hand and leaves the room, discreetly ignoring my tears.

From Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. © 2006 by Sara Gruen. Reprinted by permission of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Jake

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!