Monday, 26 September 2016


Year Published: 2011 - by Two Roads.
Genres: Adult/romance/historical fiction. 
Pages: 414. 
Author: Sara Gruen. 
Source: Library.
Goodreads: Water for Elephants

In Depression-era America, everyone’s running away from something. Some people join the circus to escape.

Jacob Jankowski hitches a ride on a freight train and in that instant his life changes.

By morning he’s landed a job with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.
By nightfall, he’s in love.

Overall, it was a dark, beautiful fairy tale; almost spoiled by unnecessary, crude sexual content.  

"'I'm not going to sit here and listen to you tell me that it's okay for August to hit her because she's his wife. Or that it's not his fault because he's insane. If he's insane, that's all the more reason she should stay away.'" 
~ pg 332.
(I love this quote). 

I loved Water for Elephants. I own the movie, too, but I haven't watched it yet cos I decided to do this in the right order and read the book first ;) Something I barely ever get right...

It was a beautiful, dark romance with an adorable elephant called Rosie as the heroine. The writing was gorgeous, original, rich, and just beautiful; I simply adore the words Gruen's chose. The writing was so unique and tender and original, I loved it. 

The story was like a dark fairy tale. Despite the cliched love "triangle", with the abusive husband, damsel, and young hot-headed boy, I thought Gruen added twists on the stereotypical characters and thus made the triangle work. August (the abusive husband) was volatile and only had episodes of violence; Marlena (although a bit of a damsel in distress) loved animals and had a sweet strength about her; and Jacob was lovably naive and protective, as well as being quiet and gentle.  
Overall, I don't think the love triangle ruined the book.   

Th characters were good and interesting and kinda strong, but they didn't really change from the beginning of the story to the end. To say they were flat is going a bit too far, but they weren't wholeheartedly dynamic. I would've liked Marlena and Jacob to have had more scenes together, so their romance could've been developed more, and I also could've liked to have seen Rosie and Marlena have much more time together. I think both relationships could've used more development. Also, to have given Marlena and Jacob more quirks and likes and dislikes would've have rounded them a bit more for the better, too.  

I hate to say this, but Water for Elephants also had a very big, distracting, unnecessary negative. I would've given it five flowers if it hadn't been for the inclusion of this
The sexual content was crude, unnecessary, explicit, and just down right annoying. It distracted from the main story, was not necessary at all, and I honestly wonder if Gruen was trying to prove "hey, I can write like a man" in the way she thinks men must write; and think like she might imagine they think. The story was from Jacob's point of view, and there were constant descriptions of women's bodies, and even of some men's, and sexual actions from both, that were just unnecessary; not to mention gross and graphic. I was constantly skimming over such scenes, dying to get back to the proper story.    
It was very disappointing. 

But so as not to end on a negative note, here's another thing I loved about the story:
I thought the ending was one of most beautiful, satisfying ending I've ever read. It couldn't have been more perfect.  

I give it: 4 flowers! 



  1. This one is on my TBR and your review has intrigued me even further. I am definitely going to have to try it but the crude sexual content is going to be annoying. I hope I can get past it - obviously you did and still managed to give it 4 flowers!

    1. I think it's definitely worth reading, despite such content. Hope you get to read it soon!

  2. I quite loved this book. I agree it was very tender and just gorgeous. The sexual content didn't bother me much in this one but since I loved Water For Elephant so much, I picked at At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen and it really bothered me in that book. I actually think I reviewed it on my blog and gave it a good review for whatever reason but looking back on it, compared to this. I didn't like it at all. Crude and kind of pointless. It surprised me given how much I loved this.

    1. That's great :) Yeah, it was. Oooh I haven't heard of At The Water's Edge, thanks for the head's up, I'll look out for it. That's really interesting to know, but I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it
      Thanks for stopping by :) Glad you liked this book!


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