Book to movie: Water for Elephants


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Published by Algonquin Books in 2006
"Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell." Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive "ship of fools." It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. 
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I'd read this book last year and did not like it at all. I usually like anything about this period, especially circus life, but this one just didn't feel right.  You could definitely tell the author has done a great amount of research about the circus and the time period, but she wasn't able to turn it into a great story. I'd thought it had potential, but didn't live up to it.

Today I've found out that it's being made into a movie with very well-known names such as Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz and Robert Pattinson. From what I've seen and read on this page, it looks like this is gonna be one of those times when the movie is better than the book. Here's the IMDB page for the movie for those of you who are interested. It will be released next year, so we have quite a bit to wait.

Anyone read the book? Excited for the movie?


  1. I read this book when it came out and loved it!
    Her older books aren't the greatest though. I think Water For Elephants showed a huge progression in her writing. Not too keen to see it as a film though (but this is always my immediate feeling about adaptations). I guess it depends on who's attached to direct, I can't say I like the sound of Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson starring.

  2. I have no idea who the director is, but I do like the photos I've seen so far. I guess we'll just have to wait and see =)

  3. I really loved this book also. It is always so amazing how people respond to books. I realized this when I joined good reads. I was amazed that there were so many books that were BOTH in the 100 best and worst books list ever!

  4. Hehe, yeah. I love hearing all the different opinions.

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