About the book:
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.
I read this book on my kindle a week after watching the movie and I have to say I enjoyed the movie a lot more. They did a number of adaptations for the screenplay that made it work better. Like August was the owner in the movie, but in the book he wasn't but he was in charge of the animals and Uncle Al was the owner. At any rate, the movie was made for a PG-13 rating and though there were some mild situations and language, it was tolerable, vs. the book, where there was a lot of swearing and a few lewd descriptions that weren't necessary for the story in order for it to be a good one. If not for the cheesy sexual stuff and multiple F-bombs dropped, I would have enjoyed the book more. The story itself is quite good, but the delivery of it was lacking because of the language and overly-detailed sexual situations. So if I were to recommend one, I'd tell people to choose the movie over the book. It's less crude, and ultimately, a more satisfying experience. The story structure itself reminded me a lot of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.
Water for Elephants was published by Algonquin Books and released in May 2007.
Here is a link to the movie in case you are interested in getting the DVD on Amazon instead...