Customer Reviews for

Water for Elephants

Average Rating 4.5
( 15709 )
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(1514)

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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 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 January 22, 2012

    Water for elephants

    This truly is a good story. But there are some very graphic sexual parts of the book you need to be aware of before you read the book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2009

    an easy, pleasurable read

    This book was an overall success in my experience with it. The book's main character is someone that almost anyone can relate to, even if his experiences aren't the same as the reader's. Although there were several scenes that were a bit too sexually graphic for my taste, the pure emotion portrayed in the characters pulled me into the story. I would sit down to read for a few minutes and read for an hour because I had to know what happened next. I was also intrigued by the transitions in the story between the present and the memories of the past. Hearing the story told from an old man who has experienced many hardships but still was able to find the love of his life made the story more endearing. His relationship with the animals of the circus was also an interesting aspect. The loving relationships in the story are a great aspect, but the hateful and evil aspects of relationships make the book that much easier to relate to. Although the characters' lives do not end perfectly, and many tragedies occur in the book, but these hardships make the good things more precious. The book was a very easy read, and I would certainly recommend it to someone who won't be offended by the sexual encounters described in it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of the best i've read in a long time

    This book was very well written. I haven't read a good book in quite a while and thought that this was excellent. I definitely recommend this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Water for Elephants leaves you thirty for more!

    This is a very interesting book, with the approach of switching back and forth between the younger and older man. You see quickly what makes the old man what he is, and you wish he had had more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Wonderful!

    I saw the movie first before knowing it was based on a novel. Surprisingly the two complement eachother well. Note to parents: there is some explicit language and strong sexual descriptions in this book. Not enough to detract from the story, but it is there none the less. I would suggest this great book to my mature friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    READ THIS BOOK

    This book was awesome and has A LOT more than the movie. A great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2011

    Great read

    I've read this book twice and loved it each time. Recommended to both my kids and they too loved it. It's currently on loan to one of their friends. Highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Water for Elephants = My favorite!!!!

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I thought this book was amazing and I really got into it. The characters are charming and the detail used to describe sights and smells made me feel like I was really there. It makes me kind of want to see the movie but by the trailer i can tell it wont be nearly as good as the book. Below is a long summary which contains many spoilers, I highly encourage you to read the book and not my summary if you plan to read it. :)

    *Spoilers*
    Water for Elephants switches between the past and present of a man named Jacob. In his present he is an old man living in an elderly home and is looking back at his younger self, when he was a vet for Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth (a circus). He tells of how he was going to college when he got news that both his parents were killed in a car accident, he runs off during his final to becoming a vet without finishing his test. He wondered into the woods and then grabbed onto the train of the Benzini Brothers circus and eventually was employed by Uncle Al, after he finds out Jacob is a (almost) vet. He stays with the Benzini Brothers and meets Marlena, one of the performers, and also meets August, Marlena's husband and keeper of animals. August is a cruel person who has a bipolar personality which Jacob does not like. Especially when he falls in love with Marlena and he sees her around his constantly changing personality. Rosie (the elephant) is introduced to their Circus mid book when another circus goes bankrupt. They think she's stupid until Jacob discovers that she doesn't understand English but polish. Before this August would beat her when she wouldnt obey him. Marlena also shows that she also has feelings for Jacob but neither do anything about it until August snaps one day. He accuses Jacob and Marlena of having an affair together and then beats up Jacob and hits Marlena. This causes her to leave him and finally pushes Jacob and Marlena together. Uncle Al gets Jacob to "help" get them back together but just stalls until they, Marlena and Jacob, can run away together. Marlene discovers that she's pregnant and Jacob decides to have them run away in the coming days. He learns that August has schizophrenia which is why he has weird mood swings and thought Marlena and Jacob were having an affair. The night Jacob and Marlena were going to run away a stampede happens at the show. Rosie, the elephant, remembering how abusive August was toward her kills him in the chaos of the stampede. Marlena and Jacob walk away unscathed but the circus goes bankrupt and Uncle Al disappears, and is later found dead. Jacob calls his old professor and asks is he could re-take his final to become a real vet. Jacob and Marlena keep Rosie, 12 horses and a monkey, then go and work for Ringling Brother. They have 5 kids and retire from the circus after their 3rd kid. Finally we're back to old Jacob who is sick of living in a home and being treated like a crazy old person, he goes to the circus that was happening across from the home and asks the owner if he could go with them and work as a ticket seller. The owner of the circus is very interested int Jacob because he was actually in the famous circus stampede, and accepts his request.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    Could not put it down

    This is a fun and interesting read. Well written and structured.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great for a long road trip!

    The audio-book version of Water for Elephants is story-telling at its finest. The narrators find their characters and make their voices believeable, which is a tribute to the fine writing of the author. This deftly written foray into the circus gives readers pause as we lift back the flap of tent canvas and see for ourselves that the magic is an illusion, and that life on a 1920s circus show is all but magical. Hard times hit, but the main characters sparkle. The audio-book may have been affordable, but my gas bill is in the mail. :) What a wonderful way to spend a drive!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    A surprise under the Big Top

    This book surprised me. I started to read because I was intrigued by the way Gruen was viewing the world through the eyes of the main character...as an old man. Gruen did the research and brought the history of the traveling circus alive. A touching story that made me think about life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Great, quick read but...

    Bad formatting. Beware of reading this as an e-book. Someone did not proof the formatting and paragraphs have extra breaks in them and Polish phrases show up as tiny images or illegible text. I found myself at a brick and mortar store purchasing the book to see what I had missed.

    Great book, too bad the formatting was butchered.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    Great Read!

    Eloquently written, beautiful story. Well written view from the perspective of an elderly man, excellent insight. Fantastic twist at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    I cried. A lot.

    Don't read this book if you struggle with animal cruelty imagery. It's an incredible story, a bit predicable, but sweet at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Good read

    This was a good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Great!

    Being the history junkie that I am, I really enjoyed the inner workings of the circa-1930's circuses. Also liked the way Sara Gruen built up the many characters of the book.

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  • Posted December 26, 2013

    A unique and wonderful book. You become immersed in this book wh

    A unique and wonderful book. You become immersed in this book while reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Pretty Good

    Better than the movie

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    East read

    Great story

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