Water for Elephants

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Water for Elephants
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Water for Elephants is a fascinating story about a traveling circus during the Great Depression. Inside its cover, you will find a story about running away, chasing your dreams, and growing old, not necessarily in that order. Sometimes heartwarming, and sometimes heart wrenching, but always impossible to put down.

In the beginning of Water for Elephants, Jacob Jankowski cogitates old age.

You start to forget words: they’re on the tip of your tongue, but instead of eventually dislodging, they stay there. You go upstairs to fetch something, and by the time you get there you can’t remember what it was you were after. You call your child by the names of all your other children and finally the dog before you get to his. Sometimes you forget what day it is. And finally you forget the year.

But in the end, Jacob Jankowski hasn’t forgotten who he really is.

It was something, all right. I remember it like yesterday. Hell, I remember it better than yesterday.

Water for Elephants, a story you will not forget.

I was in Kansas City last weekend, and while on my way to a restaurant in the renovated Freight House distinct I spotted a circus train parked on the railroad siding just down the street from where I planned to dine. This was a remarkable coincidence as I was about half way though reading the book Water for Elephants, so this encounter gave me a strong feeling of connection to the story.

Later that evening, while savoring each bite of my bistecca, the ambiance in the restaurant was suddenly interrupted with shouts of, “the elephants are coming, come and look, the elephants are coming!” I quickly joined the flow of patrons, wait staff, and kitchen help scurrying out the front door and pouring onto the sidewalk. I stepped out the door and away from the crowd just in time to see the line of elephants hurried along by their handlers, trotting right down the middle of the street, presumably headed towards that awaiting circus train. My imagination raced down the street after them.

Water for Elephants, a story I will not forget.

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