When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, swindlers and misfits in a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.
It is there that Jacob meets Marlena, the beautiful equestrienne who is married to August, a charismatic but violently unpredictable animal trainer. Jacob also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems unmanageable until he discovers an unusual way to reach her. Water for Elephants is a story that has it all – warmth, humour, poignancy and passion.