Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a gripping story filled with both the sadness and the joy of life. Hope and regret thread through the pages gripping the reader in a heartrending but mesmerizing journey. Filled with characters struggling to choose right over wrong as well as those who are selfish and greedy, the reader will alternately lament their choices, feel their pain, sympathize with their struggles, and cheer their successes. Animal lovers beware there are some fairly graphic depictions of the way circus animals have been treated over the years. Gruen's unapologetic descriptions of circus life for all involved, the workers, the performers, and the animals strips away the romanticized idea that running away with the circus could ever be the answers to one's troubles in life. All the while, Water for Elephants also grounds us in the reality of aging and reminds us that perhaps we should listen a little and "do" a little less. Gruen's writing immerses the reader in a world so real the reader feels compelled to remind one's self it's fiction.