Jacob Jankowski had a good life ahead. He was going to become a vet at Cornell University and live a happy life. Then, his parents die in a car crash and Jacob finds out that they had no money because they were paying for his schooling. Now Jacob is homeless and sees his future as bleak. He finds himself getting a job in the Benzini Brother's Circus where he begins to realize that like the circus, life is an illusion.
After seeing the movie twice, I decided to read the novel that inspired it. It was surprisingly similar to the movie and I did enjoy it overall.
I really liked Jacob's character, but I didn't care too much for Marlena. I also was a little confused about how Jacob turned from being such an innocent, optimistic guy into his older self. I think the rest of the characters were portrayed relatively well.
The plot was really interesting, and I liked how in the author's note at the end I realized that I'd gotten a glimpse of actual stories, such as the elephant stealing the lemonade and the jake leg. I like circus', or at least the idea of them and the setting was magical and wonderful.
I wanted to enjoy this book more, but with seeing the movie before-hand, I just don't think that they can be compared. In all honestly, I probably preferred the movie better. I also think that the book had some descriptive sexual scenes and thoughts that weren't necessary to the aspects of the story at all.
All in all, Water for Elephants was an enjoyable story that I would recommend if you're interested in circuses. 4 out of 5 stars.