Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen Several people recommended this book to me, all of whom counted it as a 5 star read. This book just did not do it for me. I've never really been a circus person, so I think that put me off to begin with. There was a lot of animal cruelty in the book, which I don;t really like, but had been warned about and expected. The overall cruelty of August, to both animals and humans, though, was hard for me to take and distracted from the things in the book that I thought were good.

For the good parts:

My favorite parts of the book were the chapters with Jacob as an elderly man in the Assisted Living facility. I thought the author did a wonderful job of depicting the frustration that befalls people when they get to the point in their lives where things start to fail. I see a lot of this behaviour in my aging parents, so it really hit home. The way that people start to treat you differently, as if you aren't going to notice the difference, the lack of a working memory, the physical infirmaries that hold you back.

I also thought the book definitely picked up once Rosie joined the cast. The personality and character of the elephant was wonderful and I felt that the author took too long to get to this part of the story.

In addition, I enjoyed the relationship that developed between Walter, Jacob and Camel. But did not like the relationship between August, Marlena, and Jacob.

So - all in all, this book did not really do it for me. I am giving it 3 stars, but really want to give it 3.5 stars.