“I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other. When you’re five you know your age down to the month … But then in your thirties something strange starts to happen … How old are you? Oh I’m – you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you’re not. You’re thirty-five. And then you’re bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it’s decades before you admit it. You start to forget words … Sometimes you forget what day it is. And finally you forget the year. Actually it’s not so much that I’ve forgotten. It’s more like I’ve stopped keeping track. We’re past the millennium, that much I know… but that could have been last month or three years ago. And besides, what does it really matter? What’s the difference between three weeks or three years or even three decades of mushy peas … I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.”
The book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is about Jacob Jankowski. In the book we meet him as a young man who studies veterinary science at university. But when his parents gets killed in a car accident and looses everything he runs away and run into a circus. We also meet Jacob when he is old and lives in an old people’s home, and at the very beginning of the book in chapter one Jacob says the quotation above.
When I read the first sentence of this quotation I thought it was very strange, but when I had read through the whole paragraph it all made more sense, and I really love it now. I thought it was really good how Sara Gruen started with saying a statement, and people don’t really understand what she is talking about, or why she wrote exactly that, but when you have read the whole passage you understand everything! She goes in depth about a simple thought, and makes it more complicated which I find very interesting to read. I really like the way she wrote this, and it just makes you just want to read more about Jacob Jankowski’s thoughts about his age.
As this quote is in the first chapter of the book, we do not really know anything about Jacob Jankowski. However, after reading this passage I felt like I had quite a good idea about who he is or who he has become when he got older. I do not know yet if the young and the old Jacob are very different, or if Jacob Jankowski barely changed between working at a circus and living at an old people’s home. I think this will be very interesting to see as I continue reading Water For Elephants.