Last year, the little boys bought one of their sisters the book Water for Elephants for Christmas. Around that time, the movie of the same title was released on DVD. I saw the movie then, and loved it, but only happened to find the book a week or 2 ago, and was very eager to read it. So, for the few of you who don't know the story, here it is:
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS
by Sara Gruen
Jacob Jankowski was either 90 or 93 years old (having forgotten what year it was, he can't remember how old he was, and does it really matter much, anyway?), living unhappily in a nursing home, having been put there by his children after the death of his beloved wife. One day, there was much fuss and ado across the street, visible through the window, and a nurse explained that the circus was coming that weekend. That night, Jacob was put at a dining table with a new resident, who made the claim that he had been in the circus, carrying water for elephants. This threw Jacob into a tirade, because no man could haul enough water for an elephant. It also caused him to recall a time about 70 years earlier, when he was in his final days in Cornell's veterinary school. As final exams were beginning, Jacob was called out of class to the dean's office, and told that his parents had just been killed in a car crash, and he was required to go identify them. He did so, and subsequently learned that, this being during the Great Depression, his father's house and veterinary practice were overmortgaged and his father had no money, thus there was no home for Jacob, and no practice for him to continue. Despondent, Jacob ran away, hopped on a passing train that night, and found himself riding with a circus. The next day, he was hired by the circus as a vet for the animals, thus beginning a 2 month stint with the circus.
The books moves seamlessly back and forth between Jacob's memories of the past and the reality of his present life. My daughter saw the movie the day after she read the book, and was disappointed in the movie. Having now read the book, I understand. This was an excellent book (and the movie was quite fine, too). I'll probably reread the book before it goes back to my daughter's room. Highly recommended. 5/5
Happy Thorsday, everyone!