Thursday, September 16

water for elephants


Okay, so I do realize that this is my 3rd post tonight. Haha. No worries. I kind of tend to do this. Go missing in blogland then once I do my "I have returned" post...I keep thinking of things I've been meaning to blog about.

Like the book I just finished Monday morning {while I was working in the ICU}.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I had no idea what it was even about before I read it. It was one of those books that I've vaguely heard about for the last three years. And I have had it in the back of my mind for that whole time.

When having a date with Pro in Colorado Springs last month, I saw her copy of this book sitting on her bookshelf in the living room. It reminded me that I have always wanted to read it, and she so kindly let me borrow it! I started it last week and finished it in about three reading sessions!

I found it completely enthralling, thought-provoking, and easy to read.

The story follows Jacob, an elderly man living in a nursing home. He finds himself slipping into dreams of when he was in his twenties and a vet student in an Ivy League school during the Depression. Just as he is about to take his final exams in vet school, both of his parents are killed in a car accident. In an emotional daze, he runs from town...and just keeps running, until he finds himself in the middle of nowhere next to some train tracks. Eventually, a train approaches and he hops into an open car.

Turns out, he hopped onto a traveling circus train! He learns the ropes of the traveling circus life and becomes the show's vet. He falls for his boss's girl, and has emotional ties with Rosie the elephant.

I love this book for lots of reasons.

1. The scenes of Jacob in his 90s - they portray exactly what I saw in working at the nursing home. I feel like the author described with accuracy the despair many patients feel when they can tell their mind is slipping a little more each day.
2. The author really did her historical research! I loved getting insight into what life on a traveling circus during the 1930s would be like! What a trip!
3. Rosie the elephant and her crazy antics are based on true stories. {SPOILER ALERT: Like the fact that there once was an elephant that would take her stake out of the ground, walk over to where the huge barrels of lemonade were, drink all the lemonade, walk back to her designated spot, and put her stake back in the ground. Only to let the working men get blamed for stealing the lemonade! Is that not a hilarious story?}
4. The ending is completely appropriate, happy, and hope-filled. I LOVE happy endings. I don't need a creative/pessimistic twist of an ending to make a book a good book to me. Make it right, so the good guys and {bad guys alike} end up getting what the deserve, and I'll be happy.

I loved this book.
And I loved the images used throughout. Images like these:

It made me want to work on a circus. And also work for PETA by advocating against cruel treatment of animals in the circus. I realize those two points are completely opposing...but still...that's how I felt at the end of the book.

In short: I recommend it!

Cheers to another good book!


  1. After finally finishing this one (what was my deal?) I have to admit that I LOVED the ending and I have fond thoughts when I think back on it. Haha. I did like this book even though it took me a bit to get into it. :-)

  2. I don't know how I manage to do this...miss like 18 Kaity-posts. Alas, I have found my way back!

    I LOVE this post - and you know that I love this book. Thanks for including all of the fun cool is that? And so happy that you're being an advocate of the book - it's a phenomenal read! Doooo IT!

    Oh, and have fun in Seattle!


How sweet of you to comment :) I love you for it!