It is difficult to give a new and fresh perspective to a book that has been read and reviewed to the extent of this one. Spectacular is a fitting description for a book about the circus and enormously enjoyable for a book about an elephant.
Sara Gruen's writing is vivid. Her characters are real. The pictures add authenticity to her story. I'm never sure if a location in a book is made up unless it is well-known. So, it was interesting that my hometown of Norwich, NY, is mentioned at the beginning of the book.
How a story ends is ultimately why we read. Is the ending of WATER FOR ELEPHAANTS realistic for a 'run off and join the circus" novel? You will have to read it and decide for yourself.