Customer Reviews for

Water for Elephants

Average Rating 4.5
( 15710 )
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(9076)

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(4018)

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(1514)

2 Star

(516)

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(586)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

75 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful

I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story you don't forget.

posted by theReader278 on June 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

55 out of 134 people found this review helpful.

An Avid Reader

I was looking forward to reading this book. Parts of it were good & a few touching. The animal abuse was very disturbing & too graphic. The author has a twisted male organ fixation that was not relavent to the story line.

posted by Anonymous on August 4, 2006

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful

    I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story you don't forget.

    75 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a wonderful read and well worth your time!

    The story moves cleverly between the world of 90, or possibly, 93 year old, Jacob, in a nursing home, as he tells the story of his life, the Depression era and the circus world. He was twenty-three and almost ready to take his final exam, when he receives word that both of his parents were in a car accident and did not survive. There was no money as he sat to take his final exam to become a veterinarian. Feeling desperate Jacob jumps on a moving train instead. Having no idea he has jumped on a circus train, he decides he has nothing left and starts working with the circus. He meets a beautiful woman, Marlena, but finds out quickly she is married to a mad-man. However, she returns the attraction and a great love story begins. Water for Elephants is a compelling story that tells us all about growing old, corrupt management, animal cruelty, wonderful animals, kindness and loyalty between people and between people and animals in a world where indifference and cruelty are common. The author's obvious extensive research of history and circus life added so much interest to the background of a wonderful meaningful, love story. This is such a wonderful read and well worth your time!

    71 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2006

    An Avid Reader

    I was looking forward to reading this book. Parts of it were good & a few touching. The animal abuse was very disturbing & too graphic. The author has a twisted male organ fixation that was not relavent to the story line.

    55 out of 134 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Touching and Engaging

    Very good story that is well written. Great transitions from the old Jacob to his younger self. Who knew a story about circus trains could be such a great book. Due to some graphic language or truth of treatment to some animals, I would recommend this book, but with that caution to anyone who may be too young and possibly some adults who are very sensitive to that kind of thing. It is hard to read at times about the cruelty, but it is real.

    32 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    If you like macabe, melodramatic books,

    You might like this unbelievable novel. There wasn't a funny line in it. It was filled with more drama than I cared to read about. Between the killings of both humans and animals in bizarre and pathetic ways, the mistreatment of circus help and performers, and just the every day life of living a circus way of life was just morbid. If I want to be depressed, I can always go to a funeral. I felt like I needed an anti depression med after I read the book.

    26 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2009

    Much better than anticipated

    From the begining this story grabbed my attention and kept it through out the entire book. Not only did I learn quite a bit about the curcus and this time period, but I guenuinely felt for the characters in the story including the animals. <BR/><BR/>I have lent this book to several of my friends, who found it just as delightful as I did. It was a great change from my usual readings. I will definitly be watching for more books by Sara Gruen.

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not for me

    I didn't connect with this book... it was action packed and definitely a page turner, but it almost felt like there were too many elements that were included in the story for shock value only, instead of contributing to character or story development. A few random acts of cruelty, disgust, lust, etc, would have adequately added to the illustration of harsh circus life, but incident after incident was thrown at you until you were pretty much emotionless about everything else that happened in the story. Also, why was the title of the book never fully explained? We got a clue in an early chapter that carrying "water for elephants" was such a significant thing for the main character, then it was never followed up with again. Finally, I thought the main character's ending was completely absurd.

    20 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    The schizophrenia test.

    I propose a new and simple test for good vs bad writing. Does the author, be it a television screen writer, a mystery writer or a novelist, use schizophrenia as an all purpose safety net when he/she loses the logical thread of the story or lacks motivation for a character? If the answer is 'yes' then I call lazy if not out-and-out bad writing. The character, August, is drawn as a violent man with terrible mood swings. Fine. Why not leave it at that or show some motivation from his past? Instead he is called paranoid schizophrenic by the circus owner as an explanation for his behavior. Yet the character exhibited none of the symptoms of this disease! Where were the voices? Where were the fantastic delusions the disorgainzed thinking or the inability to separate reality from illusion? People with schizophrenia are rarely violent and actually have less incident of arrest than people with alcohol problems. Yet the public perception of schizophrenics as violent has doubled in recent years and here is a clear example of why the stigma has increased. The rest of the book alternated between boring and overly explicit as though lack of character development and story line could be compensated for with lurid details and horrible tragic cruelty to animals. What an awful and obvious way to extract emotion from the reader.

    20 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Such a great read! I loved it!

    I wouldn't have read this on my own. It was a gift and what a gift it turned out to be! I loved it! One of my all time favs! I felt a kinship for the main character right a way . Everyone should read this book! you won't regret it.

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sad to finish

    I was so sad when I finished this book! The story wrapped up beautifully and made me misty eyed. I hated to put it down every night so I could sleep but I knew that if I kept reading, it would be over soon. There was some adult content in parts but the story was wonderful.

    18 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    No words can do this novel justice

    I can hardly describe the meaningfulness, pure beauty, and originality of this historically fictional novel in any review; no words can do it justice. And so all there is to say about this story of life, love, and betrayal is that it will surely move you in ways I thought were impossible. Jacob and his times with the Benzini Brothers circus are chronicled here, as he remembers the lessons he learned in the most unconventional of places. A winning tribute to everyone who has worked for what he or she loved with every ounce of passion. Read it or dare to miss out!

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    Absolutely Amazing!!!

    What a read! The characters are all so real, and the true emotions they share (and hide) make this one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend this book to everyone I know, and I have bought this book as a gift for many, many of my friends and family. True, it is a bit graphic in the telling of some of the men on the circus train, but then again, this is real life among the lonely and desperate members of the small circus. The ending was the most satisfying (read "happy" and "warming") I can remember in a long time, and it left me cheering (out loud!) for the main character. Hooray for "Water for Elephants"!!!!!

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2008

    Even better than I thought it would be

    This book was selected for my book group and I could not put it down. It is more than deserving of all the praise. Highly recommended.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    Not for Teens

    This book is on the teens list, but the language and sexual content is more for adult audiences.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Incredible

    This book was chosen for my book club. I didn't think that I would like it because it was about the circus. I was completely wrong. The characters were beautifully described and I felt like I was there with them. It was a quick book to read and I didn't want to put it down. I bought the book before I finished it because I knew I would want this in my home library.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    Not recommended unless you like erotica

    I found this to be a good read, EXCEPT for the Sexual descriptions. WHY, WHY, Why, ruin a good story with SMUT. The characters were well developed, the story was gripping, you could understand some of the terrible conditions of the Depression Era and how difficult it was to live through all that. But I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anyone that I know because of about 3 pages that were just totally unnecessary.

    9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Water for Elephants

    OMG! This is one of the most awesome books I've every read. Do yourself a favor and read it!

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2007

    Disappointing

    I think this book made it in the wrong category. This is definitely an adult rated book but not everyone enjoys reading this type of content. I think this book should have a an age appropriateness rating. I was very disappointed in this book because of all the inappropriate scenes. When I chose this book for a book club I thought it would be a clean well written book, but what I got instead and want to warn other people about is pornography and filthy language. I began ripping pages out of the book because I didn't want to pass this along to the thrift store. I give this book no stars!

    9 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Am I Missing Something?

    This book has been so popular and I could not stand it!

    8 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Horrible

    I always find it sad when an author relies on sensationalism to carry a book.

    Contains a LOT of erotica and vulgar language. Characters were one dimensional. Animal abuse.

    Nothing to redeem this book and not recomended for younger people.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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