HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Loading...

Water for Elephants (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Sara Gruen, David LeDoux (Reader), John Randolph Jones (Reader)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,672107683 (4.08)1 / 861
Member:Summerb76
Title:Water for Elephants
Authors:Sara Gruen
Other authors:David LeDoux (Reader), John Randolph Jones (Reader)
Info:HighBridge Company (2006), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 91
    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Pax_Biblio, starfishian)
  2. 93
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (LindsayGentles)
  3. 30
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (sturlington)
  4. 20
    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter (Pax_Biblio)
  7. 31
    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)
  8. 10
    The spangled road by Borden Deal (VictoriaPL)
  9. 10
    Holy Fools by Joanne Harris (ecleirs24)
  10. 10
    At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen (Eowyn1)
  11. 21
    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (heidilove)
    heidilove: If the power of story compels you, you'll like this as well.
  12. 10
    The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day (sibyllacumaea)
  13. 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.
  14. 00
    Walking on Air by Pierre Delattre (cammykitty)
  15. 00
    One Good Dog by Susan Wilson (SATURNBEAR)
    SATURNBEAR: A great story of animals and people coming together and overcoming painful histories.
  16. 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.
  17. 33
    Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg (Cecilturtle)
  18. 00
    The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson (joririchardson)
  19. 11
    Madame Zee by Pearl Luke (Yells)
  20. 00
    Hottentot Venus by Barbara Chase-Riboud (jennyellen22)

(see all 27 recommendations)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (1,050)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (2)  French (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (1,073)
Showing 1-5 of 1050 (next | show all)
Excerpts from my original GR review (Mar 2009; read it 2007):
- Just a great story with a great premise. The flashback narration by the fading senior is a good device here. The author's writing is beautiful but clear. And who doesn't like a runaway-who-joins-the-circus affair?
- Certainly well researched. I loved the train travel exploits the most. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Oct 10, 2018 |
Sara Gruen’s writing is hypnotic. The story is truly one of the best. It's perfect, tender, and rich. The author admirably convey the leading character's life in a full circle. The story will remain with you. I look forward on reading this novel again and again. I would very highly recommend it. ( )
  nu-bibliophile | Oct 5, 2018 |
For all of the hype surrounding this novel I came out really disappointed at the end. I should have never put the book on my to read list in the first place. I was hesitant to add it, because every time I read the synopsis, I thought to myself "You know, that doesn't seem all that exciting." But then I kept seeing it pop up in the 100 books in a year group that I'm in and I figured what the hell and put it on my list.

I was 35th in line on the library waiting list, so I knew it was still popular. I started reading it, and it seemed like it might be good enough, the event that drives Jacob to join the circus is traumatic, all the more reason for him to run away and do something completely different with his life than he had originally planned.

Once he gets there though, the story sort of falls flat. There's all this buildup in other reviews about romance, suspense, a little murder, but the way it's told all just seems so plain. It's too straightforward. There are a lot of great details, and the photos that accompany the story are excellent, but the story itself is lacking, or maybe it's the flow of the dialogue I'm not quite sure.

I expressed some disappointment to a friend just before i finished the novel, and they told me to save my time and just see the movie, now I wish I had just done that instead. ( )
  Melissalovesreading | Sep 30, 2018 |
This book was great. A little bit of adventure, romance, and mystery. ( )
  JohnLambrechts | Sep 24, 2018 |
I cried, I think. I loved this book from start to finish. Unfortunately I read it so long ago I can't remember anything else. I think this may be a reread soon. ( )
  m_mozeleski | May 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 1050 (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)
 
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 editionscalculated
Jones, John RandolphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LeDoux, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werner, Honijacket designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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
Haiku summary

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)

» see all 13 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.08)
0.5 14
1 91
1.5 19
2 302
2.5 86
3 1164
3.5 398
4 3063
4.5 439
5 2887

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

» Publisher information page

HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 129,598,005 books! | Top bar: Always visible