Thursday, September 21, 2006

93. "Water for Elephants" ~ Sara Gruen


Jacob Jankowski reminisces about his days as a circus veterinarian as he wastes away at the age of 93 in a nursing home.

With photos from Ringling Bros. (circa 1920-1940) punctuating each chapter, it is obvious Gruen spent much of her time researching the language of the circus. From the types of acts to the nicknames for performers, she is excruciatingly detailed.

Everyone loves this book. It is a story of redemption, of good versus evil, of hope within darkness.

However, I only met the writing midway. Perhaps reading all of these books makes me jaded. For example, since I recently read Angle of Repose, a similar "old man reflection" piece, this didn't resonate with me, especially because Angle is an amazing piece of literature (and a Pulitzer prize-winner, as well). Perhaps the young Jacob's naivete didn't ring true to the elder Jacob's bitterness. Or, perhaps I didn't find her imagery and description as fresh as others.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is a decent read. Too pat ending, too many coincidences. But for a light sorbet to cleanse the palate, you could do worse.

2.5 out of 5.0 Dancing in Septembers.

2 comments:

Joy said...

Hi! I've breezed by here many times, but don't know if I've ever commented. I hope you don't mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I rated it a 4.5/5. I'm going to look into the one you compared it to.

Good thoughts sent your way on reaching your goal. :)

be_zen8 said...

I am so glad we agree on this.