Aside from us readers, charlie is the only person to hear jacobs whole life story. Beautifully written, water for elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. A circus elephant, a love story, and a prohibitionera thriller. Use these book club discussion questions on water for elephants to lead your book clubs conversation on the story. His lie telling the old ladies that he used to carry water for the elephants is what. This is a book where i had actually seen the movie first, which then made me want to. Joesph mcguinty says he used to carry water for elephants at the old circuses, which annoys jacob cause he doesnt think its true. Water for elephants is not only a wonderfully written story, but also an historic account of the life of the travelling circus and depressionera america. It was sent to me by a tsw reader who wanted to know if there is any connection between the absence of fathers and the shocking growth of the american prison population.
The following quote from jacob, taken from the book, describes, in detail, the marvelous scene. It has an energy and spirit like the feeling under a big top when the show is about to begin. This is an adult story with some of it whitewashed in the movie for the pg rating. The main characters of this fiction, historical story are jacob jankowski, rosemary. Such is the case with sara gruens water for elephants. May 26, 2006 water for elephants is the story of jacobs life with this circus. Although i wanted more emotion between marlena and jacob, its a romantic story, full of action, love for animals and a magnificent circus. The book went on to receive numerous awards and nominations as well as a film adaptation in 2011 starring robert pattinson and reese witherspoon. Its the story of jacob, who runs away to the circus during the depression when his life falls apart around him. From jacobs bad tempered dwarf roommate, to the occasionally psychopathic equine master, to the.
The story could essentially be jacob proving that mr. Elephants follows the story of a jacob jankowski, a man in his 90s who lives in a nursing home. August takes jacob under his wing initially, but later jacob learns his true colors. Water for elephants book club discussion questions and. There is one discussed in the readers guide at the end of the book that says jacob lies back on the bank, resting my head on a flat stone. Fans of the story looking for more gritty, circus related tales should check out the following books like water for elephants. So, i read the story of jacob, son of isaac who was the son of abraham, who almost sacrificed isaac. How is the book water for elephants related to the. The book was published in multiple languages including english, consists of 335 pages and is available in paperback format. With a secret like that, at some point the secret itself becomes irrelevant. So its not written first person, she didnt work for a circus, etc. Sara gruen spares no detail in chronicling the squalid, filthy, brutish circumstances in which he finds himself.
I dont know what her inspiration was but with dedicated research, she is able to describe, in detail, how it was to live in the 1930s, the great depression years. Water for elephants is a rich surprise, a delightful gem springing from a fascinating footnote to history that absolutely deserved to be mined. Goodreads members who liked water for elephants also liked. The circus comes to town, and the mere mention of the word circus brings jacob back to his young in the 1930s a time when circuses were all the rage. Sara gruen has said that the backbone of her novel parallels the biblical story of jacob, in the book of genesis. Water for elephants makes use of a framing device similar to one the screenwriter used for the bridges of madison county. A national bestseller in canada and a new york times bestseller in the united states, this is a book destined to become a beloved fiction classic. Uncle als and the augusts and youve been the jacobs and the marlenas. Water for elephants movie tiein by sara gruen, paperback.
The young man asks jacob to tell him what happened in 1931, and so the story begins. Its one of the few books that everyone has come back to me saying, water for elephants was so good. The first edition of the novel was published in may 26th 2006, and was written by sara gruen. How do the chapters about the older jacob enrich the story about jacobs adventure with the circus. He is perhaps known best as the elephant whisperer, but he was also a founder of the earth organization in 2003. Blackandwhite photographs of real american circus scenes from the first half. They discover beauty amidst the world of the big top, and come together through. It mostly stays true to the story, and the set and costumes gel perfectly. So what if i can speak firsthand about the spanish flu, the advent of the automobile, world wars, cold wars, guerrilla wars, and sputnikthats all ancient history now. The story as a young man, jacob jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the benzini brothers most spectacular show on earth. The narration if i am not mistaken is all in first person.
Its from this nursing home that jacob tells his story, like he is looking back at all the adventures at the circus. There, he works as the shows vet, and falls ever more in love with marlena, the star of the circus and beautiful wife of the temperamental ringmaster august. I can sort of see a parallel to the stealing the birthright part. Water for elephants chapter summaries flashcards quizlet.
To emphasize this, the whole book is written in the present tense. Water for elephants is a 2011 american romantic drama film directed by francis lawrence and written by richard lagravenese, based on sara gruens 2006 novel of the same name. From my understanding of both works, the only clear connection is the theme of deception. When 90something jacob jankowski hears the circus is in town, it brings him back to his younger years, when he traveled the. Jacob decieving first his brother, then his father. Dec 07, 2011 water for elephants is a historical novel by sara gruen who presently lives in canada. How does water for elephants connect with real life.
Free download or read online water for elephants pdf epub book. I think my low opinion is partially my fault, because i drove into the story with. I think the film makers have managed to make a film about the depression era without it being depressing. In water for elephants, the story is told through jacob jankowski at two different parts in his life. Water for elephants is the story of jacobs life with this circus. In the beginning of the novel, jacob mocks another resident of the nursing home who claims to have worked in the circus and carried water for the elephants. By jim castagnera special to the history place 5211. How would the novel be different if gruen had only written about the younger jacob, keeping the story linear and never describing jacob s life as an old man. Water for elephants is a historical novel by sara gruen, written as part of national novel writing. Man, and jacob explains he is not a real vet, as he did not receive a degree. The elephant story was formed by ed and joey story as a not for profit organization to promote elephant conservation in asian elephant countries.
Find books like water for elephants from the worlds largest community of readers. A strange but beautiful combination of animals, romance, and historical fiction, water for elephants tells the story of a man who starts off as a cornell university veterinary student and ends as a tired, old, former circus member. Sara gruens arresting new novel, water for elephants, explores similar. The animals are mangy, underfed or fed rotten food, and abused. Horns story about young elephants to be simply fascinating, and you will too. It is a book i have recommended to everyone who has asked me what book i would recommend. On the first night after his leaving cornell, for example, jacob as did his biblical namesake lies back on the bank, resting my. In one plot, jacob is a young guy just starting out in the world. The story is told in a series of memories from jacob jankowski as a 93yearold man in a nursing hom. Water for elephants the role of memory in the novel. Later in the book, it is suggested that he is a paranoid schizophrenic. Baton rouge journal jacobs search for lost time is vivid and atmospheric, his story told with passion and an eye for the curious and entertaining detail.
A captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure that spans several decades and three continents, modoc is one of the most remarkable true stories ever told, perfect for fans of the zookeepers wife or water for elephants. Water for elephants is a story about an elderly man, jacob, who recalls an. Strippers, heavy alcohol consumption, physical violence against spouses and animals, pornography, murder, sex are all part of the story. Sara gruen has a voice to rival john irvings, and i am hopelessly, unabashedly in love with this book. Overall, water for elephants was a book that grabbed me from the beginning. I only wish the focus was broader with water for elephants than just the love triangle but then this is jacobs story to tell which is a reminder to consider how much really happened, especially. An old jacob, played by hal holbrook, tells his story in flashback to a. Water for elephants book club discussion questions and answers. In the book water for elephants, we meet 23 yearold jacob jankowski, just when he is about to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at cornell. His job brought him happiness, especially while marlena was there. Somewhere roaming the vast wildlands of tsavo in southern kenya, theres an elephant who carries with her part of my heart. Charlie enters the book in the secondtolast chapter and plays a small but pivotal role. Water for elephants elephant was abused in 2005, says.
Water for elephants parallels to the biblical story of. The leads lack chemistry and the movie has a very cookiecutter love story that was far too. Water for elephants has two plots going on, both starring the same main character, jacob. She wrote the book as part of national novel writing month. How is the book water for elephants related to the story. The denver post so compelling, so detailed and vivid, that i couldnt bear to be torn away from it for a single minute. Jacob and marlena, and also, the animals that were rescued make it a survival story. Water for elephants questions and answers discover the. Sara gruens water for elephants is one of those books, but richard lagraveneses screenplay does.
Joshilyn jackson, author of gods in alabama so much more than a tale about a circus, water for elephants is a compelling journey not only under the big top, but into the protagonists heart. Gruen transports us into the world of a thirdrate traveling circus during the great depression. Water for elephants by sara gruen, 9781565125605, available at book. They create a plan to completely ruin the circus for good. Water for elephants is a story about an elderly man, jacob, who recalls an adventure in his younger years. Water for elephants is a story that has it all warmth, humour, poignancy and passion. As jacob lies in his bed, drifting in and out of sleep, lucidness and dreams, the compelling story of his experiences as a young man unfolds in sara gruens mesmerizing new novel, water for elephants. Download and read online for free water for elephants by sara gruen. When jacob jankowski arrived for the first time at the circus where he worked, he was in awe. The whole story is developing this one character you go 90 something year old jacob enjoy rosemary was another character i enjoyed so patient, so sincerely understanding. What does the novel have to say about loyalty during hard times. The story is told as a series of memories by jacob jankowski, a 93yearold man who. Jacob demands real food and sends his dinner plate crashing to the floor when he does not get it. Water for elephants book discussion questions water for elephants moves between a story about a circus and a story about an old man in a nursing home.
I read that the story of jacob is allegedly the backbone of water for elephants. The inspiration for the book was a chicago tribune article about. Jacob laughs and says, im not running away, im coming home. In the book water for elephants by sara gruen, there are some slight biblical themes if you look closely. How do the chapters about the older jacob enrich the story about jacob s adventure with the circus. Gruen has said that the backbone of her story parallels the biblical story of jacob in the book of genesis. The toilet paper had armed guards, and other coronavirus stories. The prologue gives a glimpse of a climatic scene later in the book. The story follows jacob jankowski who was an old man living in a nursing home, as he looks back about a time that defined his life. I found his innocence and charm as a young man quite enchanting. Every few chapters, the narrative switches from one jacob to the other. My main issue with the book water for elephants not the title i would have chosen. Oct 21, 2009 he starts narrating the story, but suddenly you realize you are reading young jacob while being at the circus. Hiding phil was a little more difficult, since a lot of that story is in the pictures and not the text.
Jul 23, 2018 water for elephants by sara gruen is a must read a story about a 90yearold man remembering his days with a circus during the great depression. Jacob is 23 and just shy of getting his degree in veterinary medicine from cornell when he learns that his parents have been killed in a horrific accident. Are the things that happen in the benzini brothers circus in. Younger jacob and older jacob each gets to have his say. May 09, 2011 a 42yearold asian elephant named tai most recently known for the role of rosie in foxs water for elephants was abused by its trainers in 2005, according to animal defenders international. Mar 01, 2011 water for elephants is an enchanting pageturner, the kind of book that creates a world that engulfs you from the first page to the last. Water for elephants questions and answers discover the community of teachers, mentors and students just like you that can answer any question you might have on water for elephants. Water for elephants is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is. Jacob also meets rosie, an elephant who seems unmanageable until he discovers an unusual way to reach her. This is one of those books where it feels so real and the characters seem to ring.
This seemed to work well, which i was happy about since the book and illustrations are so cute. I read water for elephants for our book club, and i expected it to be as slow, dull, and superficial as most of the other books we have read. However, if we dig a little deeper, we find the story of jacob in the king james old testament bares some resemblance to the story of jacob in water for elephants. In water for elephants, jacob comes in and gets in uncle als good graces without a lot of history that august has. I talked the story a bit, narrating what was happening in the pictures and asking the kids what they saw. The book, water for elephants, starts off in the present day, in a nursing home where the main character, jacob jankowski, lives. Water for elephants by sara gruen book club discussion.
It was the early part of the great depression, and for jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. Jacob then asks the man for a job as a ticket taker for the circus, saying theres nothing wrong with him other than that he is old. Did this act as a spoiler or wet your appetite for the story. We know he is having problems remembering things at 90 or 93.
This story comes from two directions or time periods of jacobs life one as a. Feb 02, 2012 overall, if you loved the book, you will love the movie. Water for elephants by sara gruen at the best online ebook storage. The name of the character jacob is the first clue and its pretty obvious. Its an exciting, fastpaced novel, with lovable characters and an amazing cast of interesting circus performers. So i believe that the symbolism of the title is the water story triggersa flood. Her story of the benzini brothers most spectacular show on earth. Aug 23, 2015 as long as i know, the story is historical fiction by sara gruen. A thousand splendid suns, memory keepers daughter, etc. Weve probably all seen a movie and wished it were 40 minutes shorter or read a book and thought, damn, this really could have been condensed and lost nothing. Do remember, however, that characters can change during the course of the book, and the jacob jankowski. It stars reese witherspoon, robert pattinson, and christoph waltz.
The elephant whisperer the incredible true story of wild. I do not wish to give away too much of the storyline but something tells me people will like this movie as much as the book if not more. The film was released in the united states on april 22, 2011. Are his memories of his time in the circus accurate though. If you didnt catch it the first time around, heres a brief overview of the similarities that were recently discovered. I havent seen her for many years now, but i think of her often wondering if theres any truth about elephants never forgetting. Water for elephants, published in 2006, is sara gruens third book.
Water for elephants is a historical novel by sara gruen who presently lives in canada. Water for elephants moves between a story about a circus and a story about an old man in a nursing home. Jacob is working overtime as the narrator of water for elephants. I have to admit, when our book club picked this book, i thought it was going to be long and tedious. The setting of the story changes throughout the book. Water for elephants is the new york times bestselling debut novel by sara gruen. It is a world filled with a menagerie of exotic animals, midgets, freaks, performers, and a sadistic circus. The circus was the main setting of the book, water for elephants. The man agrees, saying that jacob will go down in the records book as the oldest man to run away with the circus. Discussion questions for water for elephants are listed. Reflecting on the fact that his platitudes and stories dont hold his childrens interest, the elderly jacob notes, my real stories are all out of date.
In what ways and to what extent do the words pathetic grandeur describe the world that gruen creates in her novel. The love story was a big part of the entirety, and i just did not feel anything for. Walter is his real name and he only lets his friends call him this. People and animal abuse are the strong visual messages of the rough and tumble of circus life. Readers may find themselves churning through this book at a rapidfire pace, eager to see what lies ahead, then slowing down as they realize the pages are dwindling. Apr 22, 2011 8 big differences between water for elephants book and movie apr. This is where almost all of the action of the story took place.
Hes a true compassionate animal lover unlike the benzini brothers owner. Water for elephants, published in 2007, is sara gruens third novel. Water for elephants is a book that can be read and reread, recommended and handed off between friends. Oct 05, 2015 a true story of wild elephants and their love for one man africa lost an ardent conservationist this year, lawrence anthony, died of a heart attack on 2nd march, 2012. Rosemary is the nursing home caregiver who listens to his stories and gives him real food. It is also a survival story in the end, when jacob makes it to the circus and even more when he gets to go with them. Mar 18, 2008 it came up as question 16 in the water for elephants reading group guide. I thought jacobs stories, both in the past and in the present, were extremely well written. Veterinary school student jacob meets and falls in love with marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. Visually, the movie is just what you picture when reading the book, and that makes it magical. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford. The climax of the the book, water for elephants, is when several survivors who were redlighted return to the circus during one of the shows.887 637 470 1098 509 376 949 641 401 1468 1305 1465 174 703 983 1475 1267 1455 360 646 1222 986 118 517 1355 989 1016 713 608 372 1160 85 716 157 1357