Water for Elephants is a book by Jacob Jankowski, a ninety-three year old man in a nursing home reminiscing about his life when he was younger when he got himself into a circus train that belongs to the Benzini Brothers. His life changed when he fell in love with Marlena, a talented performer who happens to be the wife of his paranoid schizophrenic boss, August.
I think what captivated me most in this book is the picture of how circus life was at that time. How circus workers were red-lighted as punishment then in order for the circus owners not to pay their wages. Also, performers always get paid even in times when revenue is low, there’s a possibility for the workmen to get paid but for the black minority, it seems to be a normal practice to not get paid. And these minorities can’t do anything but to accept it as it is.
Animal cruelty was also a theme that saddened me while reading this. More so that Ms. Gruen mentioned these cruelties as facts.
I’d suggest to anyone who hasn’t read this yet to consider reading it and get fascinated in the world of circus in the 1930s.
Quotable Quotes :
“With a secret like that, at some point the secret itself becomes irrelevant. The fact that you kept it does not.”
“I want her to melt into me, like butter on toast. I want to absorb her and walk around for the rest of my days with her encased in my skin. I want.”
“Life is the most spectacular show on earth.”
“When will people learn that just because you can make something doesn’t mean you should?”
“I stare at her for a long moment. I want to kiss her. I want to kiss her more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.”
Rating : 4/5 stars