Time for another book review for Aunt Marion and the other readers out there. While camping last week, Nancy and I both read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Many people had recommended this book to me but I kept putting off reading it thinking, "Why would I want to read a book about a circus?" Then, a few weeks ago, while waiting in the dentist's office (he has books there instead of magazines), I started reading the first few pages of this book and knew I had to buy it. It's a wonderful story and all through it, Jacob reminded me of Grampa Smith - who was in Vaudeville instead of a circus - but who, in his old age, told us detailed stories of what it was like to get ready for a "show" back in the Depression years. At the end, I was almost yelling"You Go, Jacob!" and wishing that Grampa could have had an ending like the one in this book. Here are excerpts from some Amazon reviews:
"'I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.' At the beginning of Water for Elephants, Jacob Jancowski is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn't always like this, however, because Jacob ran away and joined the circus when he was twenty-one. Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob's life with the circus in Depression-era America. The ending is absolutely ludicrous and really quite lovely!"
"As the novel begins, Jacob is an old man, restricted to an assisted living home, his memories sparked by a nearby visiting circus and a creeping helplessness that assaults his ageing body: 'Age is a terrible thief. Just when you think you're getting the hang of it, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back,' Jacob reflects. In chapters that move flawlessly back and forth in time, from the rowdy circus atmosphere to the antiseptic corridors of the assisted living home, the world is viewed through Jacob's perspective, as he rages helplessly against the decrepitude of old age and the secrets of the past. "
"There is a marvelous feel-good ending, full of great humanity. When you finish, you are left with optimism and enthusiasm that sticks with you for a long time. For those men and women who actually went through the Great Depression, this book is a treasure. Give it to every one of those beloved survivors that you have in your immediate circle of friends and family. "
"And then there is that rare book you open to the first page and several hours later, your butt numb, your joints stiff from inactivity, your eyes misting, your vision blurred, you close the cover on the last page. That rare book that sucks you in so completely you lose track of time and place. You look up from the page at your surroundings and feel a momentary confusion. The morning light that was streaming through your window when you started reading is now afternoon light coming through the door. That rare book that, as you race mid-way through, you wish with all your heart it would never end. That rare book you long to jump into, become a part of, live forever in. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen is such a book. "