The journey starts when Jacob is days away from getting his degree in veterinary science from Cornell University, Jacob learns that his mother and father have been killed in car accident. He plans to join his fathers practice. When Lovely Lucinda, the 400-pound fat lady, dies suddenly, Uncle Al orchestrates a funeral procession led by 24 black Percherons and an army of mourners competing for the three dollars and bottle of Canadian whiskey promised to whoever puts on the best show. She's married to her arrogant, bipolar boss, so maybe there's some sort of damsel-in-distress complex triggered in our hero. I was also extremely discomfited by the scenes where the big cats were fed rotting meat and other circus animals. This section contains 2,375 words approx.
When she reaches for more, drinking the sweet circus lemonade that she craves rather than the water that she requires for sustenance, she is beaten into submission. Later in the book Jacob is informed that Marlena is pregnant. Jacob doesn't want to go back to the nursing home and in his mind he is hoping Charlie will let him stay and work at the circus. With animals running wild in the bigtop, there is chaos amoungst the performers. During this, Jacob struggles to find Marlena to ensure her safety. With his life now behind him, Mr.
Maybe I might have disliked this a little less if I'd just read it instead of listened to the horribly narrated audiobook. Overall, it was an entertaining story, just not one that will stay with me. We then scoot ahead to the present. This is my 2nd novel by Sara Gruen and so far I haven't been disappointed. After a short confrontation with Blackie, a bouncer that stops stowaways, and Camel, a limp old worker, promising him a job and an audience with Uncle Al, the Ringmaster, Jacob decides to stay aboard the train. This stake represents captivity, and pain. In the book Water for Elephants it is told from a 93 or 90 year old man Jacob Jankowsi and his memories.
They were tangential ideas peppered throughout the story to support the actual point of the story, which I felt had to do with the aging of a human being. He becomes a veterinarian of the circus, and takes part in helping the various animals aboard the train. This was densely descriptive and evocative of the life of Jacob Jankowski, veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers' circus show, but there was little plot to move the story forward. Jankowski is a defiant, frustrated old man with the same independence he had as a student at Cornell. Jacob befriends one of the circus workmen and occupies his day with odd jobs until given the chance to speak with the owner about a more permanent job.
The Depression and Prohibition America - a historical era of uncertainty and chaos. A lot can change in 70 years, but I can't see the sensitive, humble Jacob I meet in large stretches of the novel with the bitter, crotchety old Jacob I meet in shorter excerpts. The 23 year old Jacob is an emotional wreck his parents had just died in a car crash. Anger had little to do with the book but I think it was important. Jacob does his job, and goes far beyond that. The story developments become more and more superficial and detached as the story progresses, as though the author ran out of steam and was finishing the book only because she was under contract to do so.
Nice story of circus life interspersed with bland romance, with a touching parallel story of trying to reclaim one's identity in the aging body and mind. While both tales are engaging, I did find the pacing to be somewhat slow. Jacob, a sensitive and innocent soul, is highly likeable and befriends most of the animals aboard. He is seen as the ninety something year old in a retirement home and as a 23 year old that makes a life changing decision. While Jacob was a fairly developed character, Marlena was the epitome of a side-female love interest: gorgeous with little beneath the surface. There he meets Marlena, the beautiful and talented performer, and her husband August, the bright, yet unusual animal trainer. Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student at Cornell, discovers that his parents have been killed in a car accident.
Jacob Jankowski, just days from the final exams at Cornell University that would have attached the respectable Dr. The intended victims also included Jacob. More than just being a performing animal, Rosie reflects the desperation of so many Americans during the Great depression. Jacob and Walter hide Camel in the corner of the train car and care for him so he doesn't get red-lighted. When Jacob gets into an argument with another patient over whether or not the other man was a water boy for elephants, it feels like the last straw.
August's paranoid schizophrenia feels emblematic — an indictment of a lifetime spent feigning emotions to make a buck. Jacob goes to Marlena and begs her to run away with him. The lie causes Jacob to spend much of his time remembering his colorful past, wishing he could move back in time and return to those days of camaraderie and excitement. They are cautious, but August suspects that Marlena is unloyal. However, shortly after the first show, August accuses Marlena and Jacob of having an affair.
She doesn't forget kindness, and she certainly doesn't forget cruelty, which August finds out the hard way. Jacob decides he does not have to miss out on the circus that has set up their tent down the street just because his family is too busy. Jacob decieving first his brother, then his father. But his sleeping quarters were with the horses and a cranky clown, and money was never guaranteed. Which if you had actually worked as part of a circus, you would know to be practically impossible! It will probably make you want to call up said loved one and talk to them about their past and their memories.