Circus tale full of magic - Water for Elephants (M)

I HAVE had friends urging me to read Sara Gruen’s novel Water for Elephants for some time now, but the film came first. And in a way I’m glad. It came as such a pleasant surprise that I would have hated to have had it pre-empted. 

The film begins with a tale told in the past by Jacob (Hal Holbrook) to Charlie (Paul Schneider), the manager of a circus.

Way back in the 1930s, as the Depression overwhelmed America, young Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) is not doing badly at all. His parents have emigrated from Poland and made a go of it. 

He is at Cornell University sitting for his final exams in veterinary science when word comes of his parents’ death in a road accident.

Taking to the road, he hitches a ride on a circus train and there his adventures begin, meeting up with the glamorous star of the show, Marlena (Witherspoon), and her charismatic but explosive and potentially deranged husband, August (Waltz), the