Saturday, November 26, 2011

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen, An audio book read by David LeDoux at 23, and John Randolph Jones at over 90

Some books lend themselves well to audio and this is one of them. I’d not read Water for Elephants, but even if I had, I’m sure this audio version would still be highly enjoyable. 

As I spoke about this novel to friends, I was surprised how many have already read Water for Elephants and loved the print version.

The book begins with Jacob Jankowski as an old man in a nursing facility. As he looks back on his life, we meet him as a young man whose personal tragedy drives him to leave college before taking his final exams to become a veterinarian. He hops a train and finds himself with a traveling circus. Fortunately, they can use a veterinarian and don’t care that he didn’t take his finals.

Circus life during the Great Depression is presented in a fascinating way. Life with the circus wasn’t often pretty, and could be dangerous. Because so many are struggling to simply live, people stay with the circus in spite of inequality and abuse. This novel is filled with suspense, but it is also a love story. You will cheer for Jacob and Marlena, and boo the bad guys.  As for the elephant, Rosie, she will make you laugh and cry. She’s not as dumb as everyone thinks.

I’m tempted to say this novel is a page-turner, but instead it was a Kindle-pressed-to-my-head audio. It went almost everywhere I went, never wanting to put it down. The only drawback is the volume on my new Kindle will not go high enough to hear when there’s any background noise. This is a criticism of Amazon’s Kindle, and not the book. I’d like to unload the dishwasher, or walk on a treadmill and listen to Kindle, but it isn’t possible. The volume won’t go high enough. I have good hearing, by the way, so it isn’t that… And, yes, I did raise it as high as it would go.  

An audio book, unlike the printed version, has the advantage of allowing you to move about and complete other mindless activities.  Audio books on CD do let you raise the volume to an acceptable level.

This audio book is exceptionally well read. David LeDoux, as 23-year-old Jacob, uses skillful voice inflections that change with different characters. He makes listening to this book enthralling. John Jones’ interpretation makes the elderly Jacob very likeable too. Both men’s vocalizations are clear and easy to understand.

I’m currently listening to another audio book that, unfortunately, is not as clear and enjoyable as this one. It emphasizes to me how truly good the audio version of Water for Elephants is. I highly recommend it!  

This outstanding novel was offered free as an introduction to audio by Amazon for my new Kindle. In spite of my issue with Kindle’s volume control, it was one of the best audio books I’ve ever listened to.
−Gail Lewis

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1256 KB
Print Length: 465 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1616200715
Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2007)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

CLICK for Amazon's Audio offer of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS

No comments:

Post a Comment