Our book club just finished reading Water for Elephants, a novel by Sara Gruen. It’s a fun read–a bit earthy, but fun. It tells of the life of Jacob Jankowski, almost-veterinarian, as he travels with a second-class circus during the Great Depression. Jacob is a self-appointed protector of the downtrodden, but he makes a horrendous mistake–he falls in love with lovely Marlena, wife of the mentally terrifying ringleader, August.
I love historical fiction that’s been well researched. This one obviously was. I love it because, after hours tucked away with a fun read, I end up a quasi-expert on something about which I previously knew nothing.
But this book was even more fun than usual because I grew up loving the circus. I mean the real circus. Three-ring Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. Every year, when it came to San Francisco, my entire school went in the school bus to the Cow Palace to watch. The band tooted horns and pounded out an irresistible beat, the ringmaster marched out, and the opening parade of animals and performers was underway. They all marched around the enormous floor to excited cheers and thunderous applause: Bears on bicycles. Elephants in a lumbering line, each one holding on to the tail of the one in front of it. (The babies were so cute, their little trunks grasping their mama’s tails!) Beautiful ladies swung above on trapezes, and silly clowns tumbled around below.
It was so much fun! Thank you, Sara, for taking me back.
The power of a book… Interesting, isn’t it? I’m struggling to finish the one I’m currently writing, set in India in the last century. Are your bags packed? Book 1 of the Blessings in India book releases in August!
“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from reading a book?”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) – American Essayist, Naturist and Poet