BookBrowse Reviews Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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

Water for Elephants

A Novel

by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • 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

Reviews

BookBrowse:


An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932. Novel

Water for Elephants absorbs the reader into the glamorous, colorful but uncertain world of a traveling circus during the Great Depression, complete with human freak show, exotic animal acts and the like. The story is told by Jacob Jankowski who, from the confines of his nursing home, drifts in and out of his memories as he recollects the extraordinary events of his early months with the circus.

Independent booksellers were all abuzz over Water for Elephants when it came out in hardcover last year, and in early 2007 voted it the No.1 Book Sense title of 2006. BookBrowse's readers also came down firmly in favor of Water for Elephants, voting it the No.1 Most Popular book in our Annual Awards - the first time that a 1st novel has won the award.

One reviewer, who didn't appreciate Water for Elephants, wrote the story off as melodramatic - to which one has to respond, how could a book about the circus not be melodramatic when melodrama virtually defines the circus!

All in all, this is a highly enjoyable, well-researched, somewhat romantic read that brings to life the era of the traveling circus and small town America in a time far harder for most than the current day.

Reviewed May 2006

This review was originally published in July 2006, and has been updated for the May 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
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

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The End of Eddy
    The End of Eddy
    by Edouard Louis
    The End of Eddy has been a publishing phenomenon in Édouard Louis' native France, where it...
  • Book Jacket: If We Were Villains
    If We Were Villains
    by M L. Rio
    22 out of 28 of our reviewers rated If We Were Villains four or five stars, giving it an overall ...
  • Book Jacket: The Islamic Enlightenment
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's A S B Every M

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.

 
Modal popup -