Readers' Favorite

June 28, 2011

Running off to the circus: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants: A NovelWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen
audio book, narrators: John Randolph Jones, David LaDoux
Published June 2006 by Highbridge Audio
ISBN 9781598870626
Listened June 2011

If you are considering trying audio books, I think this would be an excellent one to start with. I loved the narrators, they really added something extra to the story. Also this story is meant to be told orally and listening to it really makes it all come to life.

I was a bit worried when I decided to listen to this book. I don't usually like books that involve animals, mostly because of the guaranteed heart fail. Not only does this book have animals, it is set in a circus. Having worked as a zookeeper, I learned some of the not so nice things that happen to circus animals. Then add to it, the story is set during the Depression. All of these had me cringing a bit. But who hasn't dreamed of running off to the circus? 

I was hooked in the first few minutes of the reading. I could tell that it would be a story I would lose myself in. I have to say though I was a little annoyed with the music playing in the background. Particularly with the older narrator as it made it difficult for me to hear him clearly.

Oddly enough, it was the scenes of the older Jacob that had tears coming to my eyes, rather than the animals. It sucks to be old and his story is probably far more common than not. Though I did cringe every time August had a scene with Rosie. I was also a little shocked at the debauchery that took place at a circus (today it is such a family event).  

The descriptive nature of the story had me feeling like I was there at the circus. I could smell the popcorn. hear the cheer of the crowd, and when I closed my eyes I was in the menagerie with all the sights and sounds that come with a tent full of animals. More so than any other audio book I've listened to, there was a mini movies running through my mind. 

I went to see the movie a couple of days after finishing the book. I don't usually like to see the movie version so soon after finishing a book because the details of the book are so fresh in my mind. But I have to say, the movie was so well done that I fell even more in love with the story. The movie left out the parts that I found annoying in the book (in particular the back and forth between the old Jacob and young Jacob). I do have to say that I was a tiny bit upset that BoBo was cut from the film. I think he might have been my favorite animal

Have you read the book and seen the movie? What did you think about the changes? Did you have a favorite animal?
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  1. I'm so glad you liked it! I had a hard time getting started with it, but once I was in to it, I was hooked. It was my first audio book.

  2. Well written, so was an easy read. Just the fact that it was a unique story impressed me. Sara really did her homework and it showed!
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