Thursday, March 10, 2011

Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen

Water For Elephants
By: Sarah Gruen
Published: 2006
Audiobook Read by: David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones
My rating: Good

Jacob is 90....or is it 93? Well, he's old either way, right? It doesn't really matter any more anyway, his days are spent sitting around wondering what's for lunch, or dinner as the case may be. He looks at himself in the mirror and can't find anyone he recognizes. Who is that gnarled old fossil anyway? What happened to the young healthy man who had so many adventures? Why, do you know, that antique looking out of that mirror used to work in a circus? You didn't? Well, sit back and listen to the story of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show in Earth and the events leading up to it's demise!

This was a very interesting picture of circus life and I enjoyed that part of it very much. However, my enjoyment of the story was severely hampered by several very explicitly narrated sexual situations. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a little sex and romance in a book but it should be done tastefully. These scenes were like watching a XXX movie and felt like they were added just because the author felt it would be what people wanted to read rather than serving to further the story. As I said, I did enjoy the rest of the story. It was very entertaining to hear about the insanity of circus life.

The other facet to the story was the picture of old Jacob and his life in the nursing home. It was a very moving picture of the discouragement one might feel in a place like that as well as a very entertaining look at one crotchety old man's view of life! I loved the determination he exhibited as he made the decision to attend the circus show down the block. Finally, it was very touching to see an old man revisiting his youthful adventure of running off with the circus! So do you think 90....or 93, is too old to run off with the circus?

I listened to the audiobook performed by David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones, both of whom did a wonderful job. I especially liked Randolph Jones who portrayed old Jacob. His voice was wonderful in it's frailness, perfectly suiting the age he was portraying, while still exhibiting the fire of an indomitable will!

Overall this was a good book but I wouldn't recommend it unless you feel you can ignore the explicit parts and just focus on the story itself. It really is a great story otherwise!


  1. This is another on my To Read list. It's a lot easier to skip past those parts when they're in writing, I think.

  2. I must have just concentrated on the story because I don't even remember the sexual parts. Well, I vaguely remember it now after just asking my husband. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie though.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Jerri!

    There weren't very many sexual parts but they were graphically described. A case of quality instead of quantity I guess! :)

    I am looking forward to watching the movie as well. The circus fascinates me! besides, my wife is a big fan of Reese Witherspoon!