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Vettä elefanteille by Sara Gruen
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Vettä elefanteille (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Sara Gruen, Anna-Maija Viitanen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,376105956 (4.08)1 / 823
Member:humppabeibi
Title:Vettä elefanteille
Authors:Sara Gruen
Other authors:Anna-Maija Viitanen
Info:[Helsinki] Bazar 2008.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2012 luettu, kaunokirjallisuus, yhdysvallat, sirkus, eläinlääkärit, romantiikka

Work details

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (2006)

  1. 91
    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Pax_Biblio, starfishian)
  2. 83
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (LindsayGentles)
  3. 20
    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Both well-written stories about the performing life. Very different sides of it, and in very different time periods, but both well-written and exciting.
  4. 31
    Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster (Smiler69)
    Smiler69: Set during the Great Depression, a young boy is taught how to fly to become part of a travelling vaudeville act.
  5. 42
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (shesinplainview)
  6. 20
    Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter (Pax_Biblio)
  7. 20
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (sturlington)
  8. 10
    The spangled road by Borden Deal (VictoriaPL)
  9. 21
    Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though Gruen's story is fiction and Hillenbrand's journalistic nonfiction, both reveal relationships between humans and animals in the Great Depression's entertainment field. Each describes the backstage training, care, and abuse of performing animals and people in candid, engaging language.… (more)
  10. 10
    At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen (Eowyn1)
  11. 10
    Holy Fools by Joanne Harris (ecleirs24)
  12. 21
    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (heidilove)
    heidilove: If the power of story compels you, you'll like this as well.
  13. 21
    Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier (PaperbackPirate)
    PaperbackPirate: circus
  14. 10
    The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day (sibyllacumaea)
  15. 10
    Cat Man: A Novel by Edward Hoagland (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Considered by some (in the business) to be the best (most accurate) circus novel ever written.
  16. 00
    One Good Dog by Susan Wilson (SATURNBEAR)
    SATURNBEAR: A great story of animals and people coming together and overcoming painful histories.
  17. 00
    Walking on Air by Pierre Delattre (cammykitty)
  18. 33
    Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg (Cecilturtle)
  19. 00
    Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Readers of Water for Elephants may enjoy reading this memoir of farm life during the Great Depression; though the experiences are rather different, Little Heathens offers a complementary view of the period.
  20. 11
    The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Hibou8)

(see all 28 recommendations)

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English (1,035)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Norwegian (2)  Finnish (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (1,057)
Showing 1-5 of 1035 (next | show all)
This book symbolizes the reason why I am still reading YA books. I have recently become disillusioned with YA books because the majority of what I read is a recycled plot, recycled characters, with a recycled, often instalove romance. But then, I read this book. The story is unique, I don't loath the main character or his love interests, and the romance, while fairly fast, was not instalove. You'd think I'd love it, so why didn't I?

Well, there was a lot of cussing. I'm generally tolerant of cussing in books because I can skip over it or change it to "bleep" when I read it. I was reading this via audiobook, so I couldn't do either of the things I usually do, but even so, I probably wouldn't have allowed mere cussing to make this book, which could have been a four or five star read, down to two stars. The problem, for me, was the sex. Or the vulgarity in reference to sex. When a character was having sex or naked, the detail the author gave was far, far too explicit, making me want to cover my ears. What's worse is that the book didn't need these details. It didn't even need most of those scenes, but the ones that were necessary for the plot did not need to be that explicit. Even though, overall, I liked the narrator, the fact that he kept giving so much detail for these things made me like him a lot less.

Probably another reason why I didn't like the book as well is that I watched the movie (which was very good) first. For some reason I've found that most of the (admittedly few) times when I have enjoyed a movie more than a book it's because I watched the movie first. The movie cut most of the vulgarity and nudity in order to be PG-13, but it still kept the characters and story line. The movie also moved me more emotionally. It was very upsetting to see the abuse of Rosie, and I truly felt for Marlena's difficult position. In the book, the abuse of Rosie had a problem of being told rather than shown, and so it wasn't as moving, though I still did feel for Marlena in her difficult situation ( )
  NicoleSch | Jul 29, 2016 |
An engaging read with a satisfying ending. I’m still undecided if it would be better with or without the prologue, leaning towards without though. Overall, a well researched story set in depression era America when the circus came to town. The book provides insight into the desperation of people during those times, the cruelties inflicted on each other and on animals, but also the humanity that can somehow coexist amongst the depravity. Being a high school librarian, I would only recommend for our senior students due to a couple of descriptive sex scenes. ( )
  Lindsay_W | Jul 17, 2016 |
This was such a wonderful book! I would most definitely recommend it! ( )
  butterfly58 | Jun 4, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book although I would argue with the comment on the front cover from the Sunday Express which describes the book as being fabulous escapist entertainment - which apart from the domestic abuse, animal cruelty and murders it is.
Having said that I found it to be a very quick and easy read, I couldn't put it down. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
A cracking yarn! I liked the fact that some of circus stories had been true. A by-gone era brought to life. I have a fondness for tales told by the aged central character as they relive their lives. ( )
1 vote .cris | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 1035 (next | show all)
It's a favorite of book clubs and reading groups, and is supposedly rife with parallels between the protagonist, Jacob Jankowski and Jacob, grandson of Abraham, in the Bible. I wish one of you would tell me what they are. They are not obvious to me, other than a cryptic "Jacob's ladder" parallel to the ladder on the train cars that give access to the roof and that will be important late in the story. What is obvious to me is this is a book about memory, something elephants are famous for and something humans are famous for treating as reliable when it isn't.
added by paradoxosalpha | editDaily Kos, Limelite (Jul 28, 2011)
 
WOW! This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for longer than I care to admit. Something about it drew me in enough to buy it but there always seemed to be something else that I would rather be reading so, it sat and sat and sat. I am so glad that I finally challenged myself to read it because it has to be one of my favourite books in a LOOOOOOONG time. What a great story.

While I know that the book is a work of fiction, it really did feel like I was right there, in the circus, with Jacob, Marlena and August. I could see each of them (and of course Jacob was as yummy as Edward ~Robert Pattinson~), I could touch the animals, hear the music and feel the crunch of the peanuts beneath my feet. I loved that each of the chapters started with a picture showing the history of the circus because it brought me to the right time frame in my mind. The movement between Jacob as a 90 (or 93) year old in a nursing home and Jacob as a man in his early 20's were seemless. In some novels past, the 'current' story seemed forced and very out of place but here, it was a welcome part of the story.

Overall, I feel like this is a book that anyone would enjoy. Whether you are an adult, a child, a tween, a senior, this book will delight you! It is a fast, fun read. Please pick it up and spend some time aboard the train with the 'Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth'.
 
At its finest, "Water for Elephants" resembles stealth hits like "The Giant's House," by Elizabeth McCracken, or "The Lovely Bones," by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. But Gruen's prose is merely serviceable, and she hurtles through cataclysmic events, overstuffing her whiplash narrative with drama (there's an animal stampede, two murders and countless fights).
 
What goes on under the big top is nothing compared with the show backstage.
added by Shortride | editTime, Lev Grossman (Jul 16, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sara Gruenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, John RandolphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LeDoux, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manson,CharlesJacket Photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werner, Honijacket designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I meant what I said, and I said what I meant...
An elephant's faithful--one hundred per cent!
--Theodor Seuss Geisel, Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940
Dedication
For Bob, still my secret weapon
First words
I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.
Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook. (Prologue)
The idea for this book came unexpectedly: In early 2003 I was gearing up to write an entirely different book when the Chicago Tribune ran an article on Edward J. Kelty, a photographer who followed traveling circuses around America in the 1920s and '30s. (Author's Note)
Quotations
Is where you’re from the place you’re leaving or where you have roots?
I wasn’t aware of dozing, but that’s how it goes these days. I seem to slip in and out of time and space.
With a secret like that, at some point the secret itself becomes irrelevant. The fact that you kept it does not.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Jacob Jankowski is left without money and family when his parents are killed suddenly in an automobile accident. He leaves veterinarian school right before he finishes his final exam and accidentally becomes the veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers Circus. There he meets Rosie the Elephant and Marlene, a beautiful (and married) performer in the circus.

AR Level 4.4, 14 pts
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No descriptions found.

A novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932. When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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