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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I’m claiming this as a 2007 read although I did save 20 pages for this morning. What a great book.

In 2003 Gruen was working on another book when the Chicago Tribune ran an article on Edward J. Kelty, an American photographer who followed travelling circuses in the 1920s and 30s. She did a bunch of research on train circuses of the times and came up with Water for Elephants.

The premise of the story is that a young Jacob Jankowski, under extreme duress due to the accidental death of his parents, flees his veterinary exams and jumps on a train. The train ends up being the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Jacob spends 3 months on the circus as the vet, falls in love with his boss’s wife, acquires an elephant and almost gets thrown from the train several times.

The story is as fun as going to the circus.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is published by Harper Collins Canada.

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