Water for Elephants

I’m literally writing this seconds after closing Water for Elephants.

It had been on my list since the movie came out, and I’m a stickler for reading books before seeing the movie so I waited.

Again, as usual, if you’re planning on reading Water for Elephants, please don’t go on because I don’t want to give away any parts of the story for you. It’s certainly worth reading and I highly recommend it!

I’m happy to report I figured out the ending about 30 pages from the big reveal. My roommate had read the book last semester and when I told her I was dying to know the details of the incident that occurs within the first few pages, she assured me I would be surprised.

“How surprised can I be? I figure it was Marlena killing someone…August? Uncle Al maybe?” Katherine just told me I’d have to wait.

“You’ll see. It has to do with a pronoun.”

“A pronoun?”


I was baffled. So I plowed through the second half of the book twice as fast as the first and when my hypothesis struck me I immediately turned back to those first few pages and read them, my idea in mind. I knew I was right. I texted Katherine gleefully and told her not to tell me if I was right…I’d text her when I was done.

When the scene rolled around for the second time, I was thrilled I was right. I read the story of the stampede with a smile on my face. When the brilliant Rosie bludgeons the horrific and unbearable August to death I felt nothing but satisfaction. I was like Jacob in that way. Despite August’s charismatic tendencies, the moments where he lost control made me hate him.

Marlena and Jacob’s love story was perfect. When they were finally together in the hotel room it was like FINALLY!! I was just dying for it to happen. Author Sara Gruen’s writing was excellent and really captured that moment beautifully. Jacob’s struggle between his feelings and his morals were gripping to read and I was glad in the end when he didn’t have to feel bad about his morals because August was just so terrible.

Everyone who had already read the book told me they thought it was sad.

I have to say I disagree.

Jacob’s story is wonderful. He ends up with the love of his life, has 5 children who in turn grant him grandchildren. He is able to salvage the horses and Rosie and even turn his love for animals and his degree into a passionate job as a zookeeper.

Yes, it is sad that he outlived his wife, and yes it is disheartening to read about him in his old age, especially juxtaposed against the stories of his youth. But overall I was struck with the immensity of a life well-lived. Jacob retains life even in his seniority and that’s why I particularly liked the ending.

Finally, Jacob met someone in Charlie who could appreciate his past. The relief that he feels when he unloads his past to Charlie is so palpable. The sympathy that Charlie feels for Jacob is touching. I love that he took Jacob in and allowed him to “run away with the circus” for a second time!

I closed the book with a smile on my face.

One of the girls on my dance team got the movie for Christmas and promised me I could borrow it when I finished. I think I know what Katherine and I will be doing with our Sunday night tomorrow.

Thoughts and reactions from other readers would be great! What did you think of August? Did you love Jacob as much as I did? Did you feel bad for him in his old age? What about the ending?


About MMM

Resolving to write in 2011!
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2 Responses to Water for Elephants

  1. bibliopirate says:

    It was an amazing book, so, so good.

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