Will Water for Elephants Hold Water on the Re-Read?

Posted on August 29, 2016 «
Categories: book review, the Encore «
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throwback thursday

The Encore gives me the opportunity to share older reviews and posts, and reviews of books I’ve re-read. I hope you’ll join in the conversation, share your thoughts. Enjoy!

book review water for elephants gruen

So as soon as I finished At the Water’s Edge [read my review], I picked up a used copy of Water for Elephants. Since the characters and the plot in At the Water’s Edge left me wanting a bit more, I wanted to remind myself how Gruen pulled me in the first time.

I think the magic of Water for Elephants lies in how the story is told. Events in the present time trigger memories of the past and the reader is transported back in time with the main character, Jacob. To me, it is how many of us tell stories so it is at once a familiar storytelling style and new because often times we are journeying to a time we have never been. Stories told like this are some of my favorites.

Since this was a re-read for me, I was able to cruise through it. For me, I enjoyed my first read through more and the audiobook narration was so well done that I kept think I should have re-listened to this rather than re-read a physical copy.

Also, since the prologue of Water for Elephants starts out with a secret that sets the story moving forward, and I had read the book before, I knew the answer to the secret. As a result, the reveal was muted and the book wasn’t as shiny on this second read.

Water for Elephants is filled with colorful, complicated human characters and amazing animals. While several of us may have threatened to run off to join the circus as a kids, the circus life painted in Water for Elephants might easily change your mind. I would definitely recommend this novel to readers who enjoy historical fiction and have a fascination with circus history. The book doesn’t necessarily stand up on a re-read. And if you do enjoy audiobooks, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to listen to this one.


The Quick Book Review

Will Water for Elephants Hold Water on the Re-Read?

Water for Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen
Published on: May 1, 2007
Pages: 369
Genres: adult, mystery, historical fiction
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Down

Originally Read: April 21 to May 3, 2011

About Sara Gruen

Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of five novels: AT THE WATER'S EDGE, APE HOUSE, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, RIDING LESSONS, and FLYING CHANGES. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages, and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011.

She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world’s fussiest goat.

(from GoodReads)




2 responses to “Will Water for Elephants Hold Water on the Re-Read?

  1. I’m always nervous about rereading books – they rarely seem to live up to that first read. Especially when I’m changing they way I read it – like switching to reading instead of listening. I’m sorry this one didn’t quite live up 🙁 I’ve never read it, but once I’ve seen a movie for a book, I won’t read it. Since I saw this movie the book is forever spoiled for me – I’ve learned I just can’t enjoy books after a movie (maybe similar to the fear of a reread?), even if the book is superior (which it often is).

    • Most of my re-reads have been going from the physical book to the audiobook and the result has been good. This is the first time I went audiobook to physical book and the audiobook was so well done that I think it may have spoiled the re-read. Also this book has a mystery that can only be discovered once and since that makes up the bulk of what the book is about that once you know who-dun-it there isn’t much left.