Sara Gruen was inspired to write Water for Elephants after she read the stories of two real-life historic elephants. And hey, Rosie seems pretty real to us.
(Source: Author's afterword, Water for Elephants.)
The Benzini Brothers' circus is fictional, but you can still catch a show from the Ringling Brothers. Let us know when you get tickets!
Water for Elephants, eh? Guess how much water these elephants can actually drink. Thirty to fifty gallons a day. (!) That's going to be a lot of elephant pee. (Source.)
Sara Gruen has written four novels, and animals are important characters in all of them. We're totally okay with that.