I just finished the book “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. I decided to read the book after watching the movie. Having been in an abusive marriage, the movie really struck a chord I forgot about. That helpless chord. That frightened chord.
I wanted to read the book to work through some of those emotions on my own time. In that aspect, I was incredibly disappointed. There was not nearly as much abuse in the book as was displayed in the movie. The abuse that did occur was very vague in the book.
I was also disappointed by the amount of sex that is described in the book. The book could have done without all the graphic sexual depictions. It was in these depictions that I found myself rapidly turning the pages to get to the end of it.
The rest of the story is very heartwarming. It is the story of the son of a Polish immigrant who attends Cornell university to be a veterinarian like his father. Through a series of tragic events the main character finds himself on a circus train. The story continues describing his various adventures working for the circus. The story flashes back and forth from the main character being in a nursing home and back to his days in the circus.
The plot is easy to follow and the book was easy to read. It was especially enlightening to see the world in the 1930’s with the great depression. It was also very sad to see the animal abuse that circus animals endured.
I recommend this book for light reading for a mature reading audience. This may not be a book to let your younger children read.