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A Dissapointed Ending

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Viviana D. Otero A beautiful story about the loss a young man suffers and his search for existence during the peak of the Great Depression. Water for Elephants takes us through a magical journey of the daily life of workers and performers in a circus during the early 1930's. The difficulties that the Great Depression imposes on the individuals we meet in the story causes heartbreak and struggle on a daily basis. We also are appalled at the way that many of the traveling animals are treated by a few of the workers. We begin to hear and see the animals through the compassionate eyes of Jacob, the book's narrator.

I would have given the book five stars if the book's ending did not give a new meaning to cliche. I believe that Sara Gruen, may have had a bit of difficulty trying to find the exact moment when to end the story. The novel's climax appeared by chapter twenty-two and by the time we begin to climb down to the resolution we are given back to back rushed accounts on what happened to a few of the characters, animals, and even the narrator himself. The ending of the novel, quite frankly is unbelievable, and I think that Gruen should have skipped chapter twenty-three and ended the novel with chapter twenty-four. By ending the novel with chapter twenty-four, the story's narrator would have been given a dignified and respectful ending to a hero who deserved nothing more.


Nina I agree, I also didn't like how the end was all tied up in a nice neat bow after the rest of the book seemed so realistic. But it was still a great book.


butter be scotch I don't know but I like how the book ends. ha ha


Barbara I agree with you Viviana. The ending is the only thing I had an issue with. I kept thinking about the ramifications. Would old Jacob be safe? Would the person who helped him be in trouble? (It's been a while since I read it and I can't remember who helped him).


message 5: by Lou (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lou The story could have been much better was lacking in depth at times and the circus setting became boring. This is the kind of story that would translate better visually on the big screen. I have to say yet another book that would be better as a movie. The story was lacking in love and romance when needed during the length of the book, only bits here and there. I wanted to hear more from the voice of Jacob of the present in his nursing home a lot of the better scenes where written there. There was memorable characters in the story and it started well but then just did not take off. Humour was good at times that good old 8 pager.
If the circus involved maybe the kind of characters Paul Wilson has in The Peabody-Ozymandias Traveling Circus and Oddity Emporium and characters from Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes then that would really be an interesting circus story.


Janene I actually thought the ending worked. Liked it alot. It relieved me. :)


butter be scotch Janene wrote: "I actually thought the ending worked. Liked it alot. It relieved me. :)"

Well, at least there is someone who feels the same way as I do. :]


Leah I LOVED the ending. I cried at the end because I couldn't think of a better place for Old Jacob to end up. He will be much happier. I hated that he was in an old folks home and I felt sorry for him because he was older and was "trapped" in his body and in a home. It was sad. I'm glad the book ended that way.


Farrah I think Gruen captured the mind of a senior citizen well. Although I liked the humor of the ending, how he acquired the elephant and she acquired the horses...I think one of the sweetest lines was how he was unemployed, had a pregnant woman, elephant, money and 11 horses to care for. One I wished they would have kept in the movie. BUT...other than him dying alone ...what else could have really happened without it sounding a bit fantastical? What? Was Rosemary going to take him home with her? Although the ending was a bit rushed and probably over edited, I thought it was better than him going to the big happy circus in the sky.


Viviana D. Otero I haven't seen the movie, but I thought about something in the middle of the night. The title itself is a symbol for the withering mind of an old man. At some point, when we grow old, we begin to believe what we dream. Could it be then, that old Jacob actually imagined the end of the book? He was, after all, showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. It might be possible that he created the end for his own story. The end of the book is too fantastic not to think that he maybe created his own happy ending.


message 11: by Leah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leah Viviana!!! That is a great possible conclusion. I would like that the book had that much depth.


message 12: by M. (new) - rated it 4 stars

M. Janene wrote: "I actually thought the ending worked. Liked it alot. It relieved me. :)"

Agreed.


Randi Viviana D. wrote: "I haven't seen the movie, but I thought about something in the middle of the night. The title itself is a symbol for the withering mind of an old man. At some point, when we grow old, we begin to b..."

That is exactly what I was thinking! Not a literal interpretation of the ending, but rather an image of what Jacob wanted to see...


Viviana D. Otero Then I change my mind about the ending! It works indeed if we take the title into heart! WOW!


butter be scotch Viviana D. wrote: "I haven't seen the movie, but I thought about something in the middle of the night. The title itself is a symbol for the withering mind of an old man. At some point, when we grow old, we begin to b..."

I would agree but I can't see any hints of the movie that it did happen. Yes, he did dream. But his dreams were reality as you can see him complaining about it when he remembered it.


butter be scotch PS: Why do think people see the ending as a fantasy? I don't get it <_<


Maritza butter be scotch wrote: "PS: Why do think people see the ending as a fantasy? I don't get it <_<"

I don't get it either. Through the whole book the older jacob was going back in time thinking about his earlier years. People with alzeimers tend to do that. They remember the past. who said he was dreaming all this happened?? and who says the ending was something he made up?


Linda Watson Really????? a dissapointing ending???? I thought this was a AWESOME book with a AWESOME ending


Maddie14 I actually thought the ending was pretty good. Jacob finally found a place and finally went back to the circus where he had been longing to go. I felt like it finished the book up nicely.


message 20: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma I liked the ending. Because we all know that the old Jacob was missing the circus, so he is most likly going to died doing the thing he loved...


Susan Viviana D. wrote: "I haven't seen the movie, but I thought about something in the middle of the night. The title itself is a symbol for the withering mind of an old man. At some point, when we grow old, we begin to b..."

I have thought this for a long time. It seems much more logical. I think old Jacob was so upset over losing his nurse, being lonely and finally his kids not showing up that he finally slipped into dementia. What a nice place to go back to in your mind - somewhere that you had wonderful memories.


Viviana D. Otero Susan wrote: "Viviana D. wrote: "I haven't seen the movie, but I thought about something in the middle of the night. The title itself is a symbol for the withering mind of an old man. At some point, when we grow..."

I agree. It took me three nights to reach that conclusion.


Annemarie Donahue I'm so happy you all didn't like the ending. I found it unequal to the rest of the novel, surprising since the writing and plot/character development was really stellar until that point. I was actually surprised by the bluntness of it. Don't want to spoiler alert this but it seemed alittle too "wrapped up in a bow" for me.


message 24: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Annemarie wrote: "I'm so happy you all didn't like the ending.
what do you mean by that?



butter be scotch =3 Emma =3 wrote: "Annemarie wrote: "I'm so happy you all didn't like the ending.
what do you mean by that?"


It means she is relieved that there are people who have the same conclusion as hers.


message 26: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma butter be scotch wrote: "=3 Emma =3 wrote: "Annemarie wrote: "I'm so happy you all didn't like the ending.
what do you mean by that?"

It means she is relieved that there are people who have the same conclusion as hers."

0o oh, okay


Annemarie Donahue Yes, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. What I am saying is that I am happy to read that other people did not like the ending, much like I did not like the ending. The ending of the book is what I mean by "ending". I wasn't happy with how it ended because I felt it was wrapped up too neatly, meaning that there was this implausible ending which felt a little peter-panish. By that I mean that the protagonist engaged in an final activity which by his advanced age he couldn't really have engaged in. By advanced age I mean he was old. :)


message 28: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Annemarie wrote: "Yes, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. What I am saying is that I am happy to read that other people did not like the ending, much like I did not like the ending. The ending of the book is what I mean..."

oh, sorry to cause trouble!
But overall, it was a great book and now my friend is reading and im like every 5 minutes when she is reading it going like, "IS IT GOOD?" and shes like "EMMA! I ONLY READ LIKE, ONE PAGE!" :)


Susan I loved the ending,he went home to die thats where he belonged ,that was his life.He didnt want to go back to the home,becasue the one person that cared for him was leaveing,and he knew he be loved where he was going ,not forgotten about like his family did to him.He was somebody there and thats all he wanted.


message 30: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma I agree with Susan


Edward Creter My humble opinion (and we know what they say about humble opinions, huh?) is that the book was depressing ALL OVER, not just the end but EVERYWHERE! The movie, ironically, was slightly better due to Reese Witherspoon, beautiful in circus tights as you can imagine--but the segments of animal cruelty were hard for me to endure. I actually had to wait patiently for the end credits to make absolutely sure "no animals were harmed". Even so, was seeing Reese Witherspoon worth seeing the elephant get beat up? Poor Elephant!


message 32: by Risa (last edited May 18, 2011 03:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Risa Viviana D. wrote: "A beautiful story about the loss a young man suffers and his search for existence during the peak of the Great Depression. Water for Elephants takes us through a magical journey of the daily life o..."

I thought the ending was kind of refreshing....
I was hooked through the whole book which seemed to be this endless battle....After so many stories ending badly, or avoiding the cliche ending...it was nice to just have the happily ever after.

Five starts from me, it was a great read cover to cover.


message 33: by Dj (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dj I kind of liked the ending. I was all ready for people trampled, Jacob being flayed, hell; Rosie and Bobo causing the Watergate years later, idk. Then it ended and I was like, "This is quite a refreshing not really twisted ending."


Abbey I was so glad that an author allowed fianlly allowed their characters to end up happy!


Danae Armstrong i loved the ending it was amazing. I almost put it down because of the awkward parts in the middle and at some points i really didnt feel like the plot line was moving. but the ending was what made the book a three stars story for me


Carol I loved the ending. Knowing he was an intrusion on his own family he left all behind him and went to what he loved and what loved him.


Elizabeth Our book club read the book a while ago, and we just went to see the movie last week. The movie was really good...it sort of unfolded just how the movie did in my mind. The power of the love story was actually much stronger on screen, in my opinion. I actually cried at the end of the movie. I don't normally cry at movies! lol! The cruelty with which the husband (can never remember his name!) treated everyone and everything was disturbing and pitiful at the same time. The way the climax scene happened was a smidge different in the movie than the book, but was just as powerful.


Elizabeth Edward wrote: "My humble opinion (and we know what they say about humble opinions, huh?) is that the book was depressing ALL OVER, not just the end but EVERYWHERE! The movie, ironically, was slightly better due t..."

I loved the movie except for this part you are talking about. It was so hard to watch the elephant being beaten. I had to keep reminding myself...it's just a movie, it's just a movie. :)


Veronica Viviana D. wrote: "A beautiful story about the loss a young man suffers and his search for existence during the peak of the Great Depression. Water for Elephants takes us through a magical journey of the daily life o..."

I didn't really get engaged in the characters...nothing made me root for him and marlena...i was most passionate about poor rosie and all of the neglected animals. but by the time all was done i'm just like...on to the next book. i've read other books that kept me thinking and couldn't get it out of my head...this one just didn't do that for me.


Edward Creter Carol, you are dead on. Like you I had to shut my eyes with all the animal cruelty going on. I'm the type of guy who knows "it's only a movie" But just because "it's only a movie" is no excuse. Example A: Return of the Jedi, where a screaming Mark Hamill gets hit with lightning bolts from the hands of the Emperor. I've lived with that scene all my life and wish someone was there to hug me and tell me it's okay, it's just a movie.


message 41: by Jose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jose i found the ending very fitting.


message 42: by Jose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jose Edward wrote: "Carol, you are dead on. Like you I had to shut my eyes with all the animal cruelty going on. I'm the type of guy who knows "it's only a movie" But just because "it's only a movie" is no excuse. Exa..."

it's just a movie buddy. that for me just added to the depth of agusts character how he was a cruel and evil man but then he was the most caring person. it did bring a tear to my eye though


Ashly I thought the ending was perfect..Jacob tagged along to the one place he felt was(is) home.


message 44: by Tammi (new) - added it

Tammi loved the ending .... thought that was the perfect place for him to be ~ i felt so sorry for him in the nursing home ...


message 45: by Jose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jose Tammi wrote: "loved the ending .... thought that was the perfect place for him to be ~ i felt so sorry for him in the nursing home ..."

yes it was as if he was a caged animal.


Emily I actually loved the ending! A cliche did the book justice because there is no other way for the book to end and give an apprpriate happy ending. If it ended with his resignation and acceptance of his age, the book wouldn't have the same feel. In order for it end properly, Jacob would have to be released from his cage as if he were an imprisoned animal (like the ones he tended to) and he would have to return to the place that brought him the most joy in the world.


BubblesTheMonkey I actually didn't really like the ending either where he goes off with another circus. I think the writer could have expanded on that more and been a lot more specific.


Maureen Linda wrote: "Really????? a dissapointing ending???? I thought this was a AWESOME book with a AWESOME ending"

I agree!


message 49: by Robyn (new) - added it

Robyn Let's not over-think it, Jacob rang away to join the circus twice. By the end of the book, he can't have too many years left and his wife of however many decades has died, so this is the happiest ending possible for him. Beats dying in a nursing home anyway! I found the ending very touching, and wasn't disappointed in it at all.


Magdelanye Viviana D. wrote: "A beautiful story about the loss a young man suffers and his search for existence during the peak of the Great Depression. Water for Elephants takes us through a magical journey of the daily life o..."

great reveiw, I feel exactly the same about this book and you really put it into words.
I felt the same about Life of Pi


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