Water for Elephants

My original review is posted here

Jacob Jankowski has the world as his oyster. He is in college about to graduate from vet school, he has parents who love him, a secure future, and a girl he is smitten with.

In the course of one day, his world spins out of control and his life is irrevocably changed. Unable to cope, he runs away and although he doesn't do so with the intention of joining the circus, that's what happens just the same. There he meets the love of his life but he will have many trials and tribulations before he can call her his own.

The story flashes back and forth from the past to the present, ranging from Jacob's days at the circus where he meets many people, some good, some bad, to his days as a 93-year-old nursing home resident who is a widower. Several of Jacob's memories are poignant but this is one of my favorites:

"Those were the salad days; the halcyon years! The sleepless nights, the wailing babies; the days the interior of the house looked like it had been hit by a hurricane; the times I had five kids, a chimpanzee, and a wife in bed with fever. Even when the fourth glass of milk got spilled in a single night, or the shrill screeching threatened to split my skull, or when I was bailing out some son or other-or, in one memorable instance, Bobo- from a minor predicament at the police station, they were good years, grand years.

But it all zipped by. One minute Marlena and I were in it up to our eyeballs, and the next thing we knew the kids were borrowing the car and fleeing the coop for college. And now, here I am. In my nineties and alone." -pg 327

I could relate a lot because, already, I fondly remember the days when my children were babies. Now they are teens and I don't know where the time has gone.

There is also quite a bit to learn about the history of the American circus and the culture of the people who lived and worked it.

There are books that fill you with suspense and have you turning pages, unable to put them down. This book was not like that for me. Instead, it was like visiting a place and time that I am fascinated with, visiting friends and escaping there for several afternoons. I really enjoyed this one. (4.5/5)