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Water For Elephants

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Gruen, Sara(2006)
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Water For Elephants

Jacob Jankowski, an assisted-living home resident in his early nineties, reminisces about his wild-and-woolly adventures as a “veterinarian” aboard a third-rate circus train in Depression-era America. Driven to desperation by his parents’ deaths and a lack of money, guileless Jacob hops a rattletrap circus train and enters a world punctuated by murder, lust, animal cruelty, greed, and a harsh caste system. He falls for the married horse trainer, Marlena, and develops a bond with a precocious elephant named Rosie. Gruen researched her subject extensively and it shows in her attention to detail. When she brings the two interwoven stories to their conclusions, the reader may wince at the degree of sweetness. But, boy . . . what a ride! A marvelous tale!

Reviewed by Susanne W., South County Regional

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