Water For Elephants
Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.
Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
At First Sight:
I learned about this book through the movie. Like most movies made from books, I'd rather read the book before I get to see the movie. Lucky for me, the movie had already left theaters when I got the chance to buy this book so I was able to read it without being tempted. To be honest, the book didn't interest me that much by the cover. I mean, circus and elephants? what? But OMG was I wrong.
The Prologue is like, mind-blowing. You know that from the very beginning this book will be beautiful. The writing from the very first sentence is fantastic and the imagery that is created is...wow. I was wary of a female writer narrating as a male adult but Jacob's voice was very manly and real.
We learn about how Jacob has lost his parents and he decides to simply go. Feeling his life has turned for the worse, he runs away and ends up in a train car where he meets curious people. At first, Jacob is a bit shy and curious yet he's sure of who he is and what he's able to do. Very respectful, I loved that.
He meets Marlena, a beautiful woman who is also the wife of his boss. He ends up falling in love with her. I loved the development of the romance. You have to squint a little to see it in the beginning but it grows and it's very beautiful and magical.
Water for Elephants is a masterpiece that is so unexpected. You really don't expect such a book to come from between those pages. Everything is woven and written to perfection and I just...fell in love with it. I can't wait to see the movie now.
In One Sentence:
Unexpected and Beautiful!
Overall Feeling: 5