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Discuss Water for Elephants

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Discuss Water for Elephants

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 16 Nov 2009, 16:54

Please use this thread to discuss the November book of the month, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Please do not read this thread until you have finished reading the book because this thread will contain spoilers.

What do you think of the book? Do you recommend it? Are there any passages you especially enjoy?
Last edited by Scott on 03 Dec 2009, 14:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Number:#2  Postby cameron333 » 18 Nov 2009, 00:12

Finished!

All in all, it was a good book. No real complaints, and I love how it was written, wich surprised me because I have never read present tense books or many first person books and I thought that both put together wouldn't be to well, but it was great.

I do have one problem though, when Walter and Camel died, Jacob just didnt seem to care, all he did wa stare in the distance and then change the subject and that was the end of it. If Walter had somehow gotten hold of a doctor and him and Jacob met again at the end I think that would have been a nice touch, though maybe it would be too cheesy.

The theme, to me, seems to be: You get old fast and before you know it your ninety, or ninety three. Any other theme suggestions?
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Post Number:#3  Postby Pinkpaper » 23 Nov 2009, 17:53

I think the theme was 'Im very interested in the train circus around a certain period and ive done loads and loads of research which Im going to throw in there' :lol:

I actually really enjoyed it and loved all the stuff about circus life in general, the ending was a little too good to be true but I liked the charactors and all the people which came in and out of the book. I also liked how Jacobs and Marlenas life panned out after the events I thought this was realistic and quite sweet.

I do have one problem though, when Walter and Camel died, Jacob just didnt seem to care, all he did wa stare in the distance and then change the subject and that was the end of it. If Walter had somehow gotten hold of a doctor and him and Jacob met again at the end I think that would have been a nice touch, though maybe it would be too cheesy.
I know what you mean here but I think he had other things on his mind at this time (harsh I know)
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Post Number:#4  Postby cameron333 » 23 Nov 2009, 20:16

Ya, the ending was kind of unrealistic. I don't think that anyone would higher him at a travelling circus. I also think that he would have been seen running away from the old folks home, due to the amount of time it described him taking, though I didn't mind. A little cheesiness completes a cracker.

Another thing I like from the book: I know alot about circuses now. 8)
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Post Number:#5  Postby LauraH » 02 Dec 2009, 10:36

The book is about a three star book for me. It had some great moments (like any scene with Walter) but there were a lot of scenes that I thought were completely unneccessary.

I thought it was trying a little too hard to be cutting edge.
I dont understand why there were so many facts thrown in there.
And the most interesting characterw were Camel and Walter- yet we had to keep reading about stupid Marlena. (sorry but I thought she was a wench)
I also dont understand why there was a love triangle to begin with- bringing love at first sight right down to its core, I guess.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but I thought she was trying too hard to put in all the criteria for a good book- it seemed forced to me. And there were too many extraneous characters that it was getting difficult to keep them all straight.

I like the present tense Jacob's story better than the spindly little 20-something Jacob. :D
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Post Number:#6  Postby kelsey » 02 Dec 2009, 20:13

I loved this book. I'm a definite sucker for happy endings, but still, with all of the horrible things that Jacob and Marlena went through (like with Jacob's parents and Marlena getting emotionally and then physically abused), it just seemed like they deserved a happy ending. It was just a really great story.
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Post Number:#7  Postby poomlie » 06 Dec 2009, 03:00

I liked this book for the most part. It was entertaining and likeable. The information about the circus and the depression was fascinating.

It reminded a bit of "Little Big Man" by Thomas Berger, with the crusty and somehow likeable old geezer reminiscing about his past exploits. Unfortunately this didn't even approach being as good as that book.

I agree with LauraH that Walter and Camel were some of the more interesting characters, maybe the author should have written a book from Walter's perspective.

If Jacob took all of those animals with him when he left the circus it would have been interesting for him to take either Walter or Camel with him, as well (had they lived, of course).

Marlena left me cold, I didn't care for the love story.

Jacob tripping across the train with a severe concussion seemed a little unrealistic to me and a lot of the story seemed too contrived trying to make the timing right for things to happen, which made the story a bit unbelievable. I realize all stories do this, but this one was a mite obvious: Of course when he ran off he would fall into the circus, of course he would fall in love, of course her husband would be nuts, of course she would get pregnant, etc. But the circus part was good.

I kind of liked the schmaltzy ending since it was a rather sentimental story anyway, it fit in with the rest of the plot, but I could see it coming. No real surprises in this book, except that I didn't think they would redlight both Camel and Walter.
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Post Number:#8  Postby kmzu21 » 08 Dec 2009, 19:58

I thought it was a good book, but kind of a cheap thrill.
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Post Number:#9  Postby giorgia » 11 Dec 2009, 18:12

i adored this book, because it was a completely unique idea. yes cheesy, but why is cheesy such a bad thing?
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Post Number:#10  Postby Gannon » 13 Dec 2009, 16:20

I loved this book. Right from the beginning the explosive prologue left me really wanting to read this book and find out more. Firstly I love how the book jumps from the present to past in a seamless way it flows along beutifully. Secondly I love how the author takes you into the world of an old world circus. We see the hardship and the pain of everyday existence in this world. The horror of "Red lighting",no pay,amazing physical labour,etc. Sara either did alot of research or she grew up in a circus :) thats how real her world seemed to me. Thirdly there are some brilliant charaters in this book. Camel, poor old Camel. He has the heart to take Jacob in and what happens to him is just so tragic and sad. Walter, who at first seems to be a selfish hardcase, bitter with his station in life shows his true colours as Jacob gets to know him and really puts himself on the line for him. He also comes to a tragic ending. August, my favourite charater, ( I always love the flawed characters) right from the beginning we know something is very wrong with August. I actually thought he was a classic case of Bi-polar. We find out that he is a paranoid schizophrenic. Which brings us to the question were all the horrible things he did really his fault. If this was present day and he was properly medicated would he be cured and these episodes of his stopped. We will never no. Finally I loved Rosie. I laughed out loud when she was pulling up her stake and drinking the lemonade and then putting the stake back in the ground. For me she made the book and is also integral to the book. It is Rosie who kills August and then in the next instant saves Marlena. I wouldl like to think that deep down Rosie knew what was going on and did this to save August and Rosie. I agree with everyone that Marlena is a bit of a whiner but really it can not have been easy living with an unmedicated schizophrenic for so long.
Overall I loved this book, thought it was great and am waiting for her next novel. :)
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Post Number:#11  Postby vaccumbags » 22 Dec 2009, 14:29

i read this book i like it
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Post Number:#12  Postby winttery » 23 Dec 2009, 02:50

i am just reading this book. it is fantastic.
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Post Number:#13  Postby Author Eyes » 29 Dec 2009, 17:20

I enjoyed Water for Elephants, but it's been a couple of years since I read it. What I liked about it is it was full of surprises, I learned a lot, and the characters were unique. It is among my favorites.

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Post Number:#14  Postby princessp » 30 Dec 2009, 04:14

I enjoyed it and loved all the stuff about circus life in general, the ending was a little too good to be true but I liked the charactors and all the people which came in and out of the book.
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Post Number:#15  Postby princehole » 02 Jul 2010, 13:42

"Age is a terrible thief. Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse."
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