THis one was kind of a cheat. I read Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen for two of my challenges. It counts for my Historical Fiction ABC challenge as letter W and also the regular HF Challenge as the Alternative Category. Since I couldnt find a book written in the year of my birth I got to choose my own category. So Water For Elephants falls under A Historical Fiction book with an Animal in the Title.
I ABSOLUTELY loved this book. It was very touching, and the ending is the best. It follows a young man ready to sit for his Veterinarian exams at Cornell University when his parents are killed in a car accident in 1931. He desperately runs away and jumps a circus train. He soon becomes the house vet and finds himself caring for all sorts of exotic animals. The story opens with Jacob hearing the animals were lose and he runs to look for HER. He then watches in horror while SHE kills August, the menagerie director. Through out the whole book I was certain who SHE was. Boy was I wrong!! The story flips back and forth between Jacob in 1931 and 93 yr old Jacob living as a forgotten man in a nursing home.
The only down side to this book is the same issue I have with many books out today, the amount of sex. It had very graphic scenes, however was understandable on two points. One I grew up around Carnival people (had a brother who traveled with the Carnival) and the Circus characters were very true to form. The second point is that we were seeing this through Jacob's eyes. A privileged, 20 some year old virgin who had never experienced any of it before. So as you read, you felt as Jacob did. The astonishment and wonder at the sight of all of it.
I laughed, cried, and everything in between. It is a great book!!