What readers think of Water for Elephants, plus links to write your own review.

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Water for Elephants

A Novel

by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen X
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2006, 335 pages

    May 2007, 368 pages


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There are currently 52 reader reviews for Water for Elephants
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I greive
I grieve the end of this book. If it were three feet thick I would still be sitting on my numb butt unable to extricate myself from finishing it. There are just some stories you don't want to see come to an end and this is one of them. I cannot wait until a movie is made. It would make a great movie. I think most people wonder at some point in their life what it would be like to join a circus. this book satisfies a lot of that wonder. If you have not read it. go out and get it now! I am very impressed by the amount of research Sarah Gruen did on this. She is a very talented story teller.

A world of wonder
Water for Elephants is an enchanting tale of life, love, and the gruesome details that come with each. Gruen traps you in her magic spell as murder and majesty combine to make one of the most spectacular tales of all time!
Jeremy Eames

An Endearing Book
As you walk through the scratchy canvas flaps into the grandiose circular tent, the smell of freshly popped popcorn hits your nostrils. You hear vendors hawking their wares with shouts of “Get your peanuts, get your freshly salted peanuts right here.” You duck as a bag flies over your head making the hair on your neck snap to attention. Then you turn the page. Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen, is an outstanding piece of fiction that can so envelope the reader as to render them mute for hours on end while he frantically flips the pages, piecing together a you mans life. Any reader, who picks up this book, until the last word of the last sentence, is completely spellbound.
   The story opens to a chilling murder that won’t be resolved until the end of the novel. From here the story proceeds to follow the reminiscing of a ninety or ninety-three year old- he can never remember which- stuck inside a nursing home when out of the blue a circus arrives in town. From here the author takes you back in time to when this gentleman was in his early twenties. On track to become a veterinarian within a week, his life is devastated when his Polish parents are killed in a car crash. This leads to his subsequent lack of interest in his final exams and ensuing withdrawal from an Ivy League institution. Almost immediately he joins with a circus, befriends a dwarf, falls for a lovely woman, and declares war against her insane husband. Much of the remaining plot is intricately woven through hooker tents and riotous crowds. From one man's feelings for a married woman and lone dwarfs sexual needs.
   Because of its fast pace, divine story, and thorough descriptions this is truly a book to be savored. Full of excitement and adventure, this is sure to be a staple of modern fiction for years to come an, who knows, might even end up on a summer reading list or two.

Water for Elephants
I am an animal lover and I was warned by the book club leader that I may not be able to get through this book, but I couldn't put this book down after the prologue. I thought Sara Gruen did a fantastic job with the narrator and I liked the switching between present and past. Some people will be extremely bothered by the abuse that goes on with both people and animals in this book, but remember there was very little regulation regarding animal abuse or spousal abuse during the time the story takes place. Don't let other reviewers scare you away from reading this book. This is one of my favorite books this year. It did not disappoint me, but rather left me wanting to read more!
Sam Dutz

Very Good
I loved this book very much. It gripped me from the prologue all the way until the last revelations. It brings in the reader and keeps them trapped in the book until the last page.

This book was given to me from a member of our bookclub. I was a little unsure of the book at first. but as they say, don't judge a book by it's cover. So true with this book. I absolutely loved it! It's a wonderful, intense story of one man's life. So true in both what the gentleman is going through in his time now and back in history with the circus. I loved how the author was able to bring to life the circus of his past and how it is reflected in his life today. It is both happy and sad. A book you can't put down till the end. And in the end you cheer! Yes! Thank you for this beautifully written story! I throughly enjoyed it.

This author is amazing
I was surprised to find out that the author was a woman of the 21st century who had never attended a circus before researching for her novel, Water for Elephants.

I bought the novel after browsing through a few pages in a book store, as I instantly was enamored with the words I read on the pages.

I noticed the title, but didn't pay much attention to who wrote it. I quickly became immersed in the magic of the story and the entourage of eclectic characters - such as Kinko, Jacob, Marlena, August, and most importantly, Rosie.

I especially loved Ms. Gruen's presentation of the elderly Jacob Jankowski, looking back on his younger days with the circus, and giving nurses hell in the living assistance facility. His stubborn nature and ornery attitude reminded me a lot of my grandfather and I almost thought the story was something of an autobiography until I read the interview with the author at the end.

I was stunned to see that this story came from a woman's imagination with little, true tid bits from real circus history. It felt so real, I couldn't believe it was actually fiction.

As an aspiring writer myself, I found this book to be a magnificently clever work and an inspiration to pursue my desire to be a writer.

Ms. Gruen nailed it with this book and I loved it. I couldn't put it down and was so disappointed when I finished it. I wanted to read more!

What an outstanding author!

I see a movie starring Toby McGuire
It's that kind of nostalgia-think Seabiscuit, The Cider House Rules. Very evocative, nice twist at the end. This was a well constructed book, an easy read, enjoyable, and although you think you know where it's heading, it veers from its landlocked track and flies. I have the whole movie version cast in my head; except for the elephant.

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