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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 54 reader reviews for Water for Elephants
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Avid Reader

Historical romance
I actively disliked this book. The phony tone of the narrator, Jacob, and the simple one-dimensional sentences irritated me the most . A totally romantic book. I am cautious about buying "best sellers" and Water for Elephants reminded me why. A corny fairy tale for adults lavished with cruelty to humans and animals with no redeeming virtue of the book. Cruelty for entertainment's sake--appalling.

water for elephants
Y----a----w----n. This book started out with an interesting premise but as it progressed I became confused. The confusion had nothing to do with the plot but centered on which section of the book that I I purchased the book, Had I purchased it in the new fiction section of the bookstore or the romantic novel section? My memory said new fiction but my common sense said it should have been in the latter with the steamy covered books.

This book was not a mind bender but a heart tugger. The bad guys (August, Uncle Al, the mean nurse and Blackie) were so easily determined to be without social redeeming qualities that even Lucifer would hate them. The bad guys are mean, crude, cheaters, abusers, and on and on and on. And the good guys (Jacob, the lovely Marlena, Walter and Rosie the elephant) are caring, smart, honest, pretty, abused and on and on and on.

While there are many bizarre moments the prize goes the surprise party for August. This scene wins for no other reason that the heroine wants Rosie the elephant to be at the party. Give me a break.

I am being kind with a poor rating. It is not a good book.
Sue A

Disgusting, do not waste your time
I read the other reviews and had to put in my two cents. I like an author that paints a picture with words but this author crossed the line. The dialog was totally unnecessary to get the scenes across. Yes, I agree, it was the 'times,' but there are ways to describe scenes without going where this author went. I felt mentally raped and there should have been a 'explicit' warning on the outside of the cover. I would not have bought it. In fact, I took it back and got a refund based on how filthy the book was. I told the store for all intense and purposes, it was pornography. I kept reading hoping for it to get better and it did not. I stopped about a third of the way through because I just could not waste anymore brain cells on it. Do not waste your time or your mind on this one! There are so many books out there that will be pleasure to read, seek after those and leave this one on the shelf.
Pamela Smith

I usually don't like modern novels and don't trust bestseller list books. Now I remember why. The book was trashy. There was gratuitous sex, violence, murder, mayhem . . . . Gruen threw everything in but the kitchen sink. I finished it only to see if I was right about how it would end. I was. It was predictable and only appealing to prurient interests.

Water for elephants
The so called "gritty" scenes are much more than that. They are totally offensive and disturbing. The only reason for them is so the end of the book seems good in comparison. Anything would seem good after the first half. I only finished it because it was the first selection of a new book club I am joining. It is definitely not worth the time. The characters are one dimensional.

My friend in the book club liked it, but said she just "skipped over all of that part." If you have to "skip over" that much of the book to enjoy it, it is not an enjoyable book.

Water for Elephants
I found this book a very difficult to read. If you love animals this is not the book for you. It will make you sick, It is cruel and inhumane. I thought it must get better, but it seems the more I read the worse it get. I never got past pg. 160. I read for pleasure, I got no pleasure out of the inhumane killing of animals. Those are parts the author could have left out. Just to graphic.

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