I was never a big fan of the circus as a kid. There was always too much going on, too much noise, too much activity. But when I started watching Carnivale on HBO a few years ago, I loved the gritty, dirty feel of the Depression-era circuses. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen tells a similar gritty, dirty story.
Gruen’s research is what makes this story worth reading. The daily life of a circus is brought to life through the pages of Water for Elephants in a very compelling way. The story is interesting, but I was driven to read by the desire to know more about the time period. Even if you don’t think the subject matter would interest you, this book is definitely worth reading – it would be hard not to be interested in it by the end.