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Book Rating (374)

Narrator Rating (9)

Water for Elephants

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Sara Gruen

Narrated By: John Randolph Jones, David LeDoux

Publisher: HighBridge Company

Date: May 2006

Duration: 11 hours 35 minutes


Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets the freaks, grifters, and misfits that populate this world. He introduces us to Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; to August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus's animal trainer); and to Rosie, the seemingly untrainable elephant Jacob cares for.


  • Dana P

    Loved it. I have read the book myself, seen the movie, and now enjoyed the audio version.

  • Kylie Sullivan

    An amazing book. I had no troubles trying to get into it. There were great narrators.

  • Tiffany Sessions

    For me the best part of this "read" was the narrator(s). For me the story lacked character development - I just wasn't a big fan, and I always felt like something was missing with every character - seemed shallow, never really understood what made each character tick. I would have stopped listening but every one said it was so good - so I kept listening waiting for it to get better, for me personally it never did.

  • Cindy W.

    Great story ~ Wonderful characters! Could have read on and on past the ending!


    I didn't love this book. It seemed very patched together - each chapter ragged with very rough edges forced to fit into the surrounding story. Almost as if the author thought "Hmmm.... better put a fight scene here." or "60 pages in already, time for sex scene". I was not impressed with either the overall story or the flat one dimensional charecters. The story was actually a little depressing.

  • Anonymous

    Loved this story. Very cute how it jumps between Jacob (the main character) as a young and old man. I enjoyed the historical bits about the old time circus trains and all the crazy characters who worked on them. Highly recommend.

  • Anonymous

    loved the book; found the "young Jacob" narrator's voice a bit annoying, but still would highly recommend.

  • Joni

    My favorite book ever! I was hoping for a happy ending and was wondering how the author would pull it off. I was suprised and happy with the ending.

  • Fred

    One of my favorite books ever!! It was so entertaining, full of humor, joy, and pathos. A terrific ending!

  • Anonymous

    This is my all time favorite book, so far. In fact, I just added it back to my rental shelf because I was so sorry it was over that I know I will enjoy listening again. The story is wonderful and the characters are so interesting. I recommend this book to everyone.

Water for Elephants

by Sara Gruen

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Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen