March book club selection: Water for Elephants

Water For Elephants has caught my eye a couple of times, but I was never sure I liked the idea of a story about a circus. However, it has been on my reading list for more than a year, so I’m going to give it a go and see if it’s worth all the hype.

Here’s a description from Publisher’s Weekly (found on Amazon):

“With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen’s romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[…] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show’s star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena’s husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story’s ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book.”

The book club discussion will be online on March 31, the last day of the month. I also plan to hold an in-person discussion that evening so be sure to read the book. If there is enough interest I’ll do live discussions each month.

OK then, happy reading!

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Published in: on March 2, 2008 at 9:02 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I got my copy of “Water for Elephants” from Amazon yesterday. I read 30 pages on the bus ride to work. It’s great so far.

  2. Wow, you’re ahead of me then. My copy is on hold at the library but I didn’t pick it up yet because I have so many other books in line to read. I better get started though. Only three weeks left to read it. 🙂

  3. There is actually a character named “Chaz” in the book. Actually this “Chaz” isn’t really a “character” per se. It’s more like an “it.” I was horrified and I’m sure you will be too.


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