11.12.09

Water For Elephants

Recently I finished reading a book called: 'Water For Elephants'

It was such an interesting read. It's about 350 pages long, but it's a fast, easy read. The author, Sara Gruen, wrote a page turner. She chronicles what it's like to be involved in a circus during the Great Depression. Growing up I attended a few circuses at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds and even in Siljansnäs, Sweden when visiting my grandparents, but I often wondered what it would be like to travel with a circus.

She writes about a young Polish man who jumps aboard a moving train to escape a painful life circumstance; the train he jumped belongs to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He attended Cornell, but he left in the middle of his final exams in his fourth year. Call it happenstance, he ditched school and jumped upon a circus train in need of a vet. Benzini Brothers didn't care about his diploma, they were satisfied to say they had a "vet" as part of their circus. During a lonely time in his life, Jacob finds companionship and rivalry. He meets Marlena, the beautiful and show-stopping equestrian performer, however she is married to August, the charming but moody animal trainer. Another person Jacob ends up befriending is the circus dwarf who is forced to share a "train car" with him. He is the circus vet, he ends up caring for Rosie, the "stupid" elephant who was a ray of hope for the second rate circus.

It was such a refreshing and fun book to read. Opens your eyes to what circus life may have been like almost 70+ years ago... Recommend.

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