Water for Elephants Water for Elephants discussion


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message 1: by Kelly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kelly great book definately reccommend!

message 2: by Karen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karen Germain I highly recommend it as well. I loved it!

message 3: by joy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

joy I left a review on my page as well, but I can's say enough good stuff about this book. I loved the intermingling of past and present, the believable stories of drama and life on the circus circuit....WOW!!

message 4: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kimberly I just finished this book last night---the best I've read in a while. It's a fascinating (sometimes horrifying) look into circus life back in the day. One of my favorite aspects was the author's depiction of Jacob as an old man--his thoughts about the past and feelings about the present.

message 5: by Jan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan I read this book last July on holiday in Victoria, BC. I literally couldn't put it down! I pushed to get it added to our academic library and wrote a review for my library's column in the student paper. I recommend it to anyone - in fact, my book club is reading it over the summer. Definitely it should be on everyone's 'must read' list.

message 6: by Susan (last edited Jan 25, 2008 08:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susan I loved this book! For a suburbanite, life in the circus during the depression is almost surreal. It was a brave, fearless, and yes, romantic, recollection of Jacob's life. I think everyone should read it.

April I loved this book. It is so interesting to have some insight as to what it might be like to old, yet still have your mind.

Leslie I thought the ending was the absolute best! Isn't it just what you'd have chosen for him?

Dana  One of the best books ever!

message 10: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane From an animal lover, I would suggest everyone who thinks "everyone" should read it exclude your animal loving friends from your recommendations.

Rachel Gescheidle im confused about the animal lover, i read the book, loved it, and love animals... this book was not about animal cruelty nor did it show cruel topics about animals that are not to be expected from a crummy circus, i would, and will recommend this book to everyone.

message 12: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane Your reasons, Rachel, are why I do not support the circus and why i did not want to read the book. I found a great deal of this difficult to get through "When August was off doing God knows what to Rosie" or when August tossed his lit cigarette butt into Rosie's mouth. I only read it because it was for my book club.

April What about the abuse that Marlena suffered?

message 14: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane there was a multitude of abuse in this book. Marlena, Jacob (young and old), Walter, Camel. I realize my comment was focused on Rosie and the animals, but the abuse to the humans in the circus and the eldery was just as disturbing. Even more so disturbing because it's all true.

Leslie Books should educate! I think you could love this book and hate the abuse (of both people and animals). I have always hated the circus, even as a kid, because I felt so bad for the animals. That doesn't mean that I couldn't enjoy this book. If anything, it should make animal lovers (and decent human beings) want to protect the weaker beings on earth!

message 16: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane Leslie - I agree that books should educate and as an FYI I am involved with animal rescue in Los Angeles so I do my my part in protecting the "weaker beings" on earth.

Leslie Diane, that's fantasitic! If everyone who read this book and was bothered, horrified and/or offended with the abuses did something positive to help our universe, it would be a great thing.

Amanda This discussion interests me since I was very resistant to reading the book, but loved it when I did. I found the violence towards animals and people very hard to read, but also a true reflection of that time and place and general attitudes. I was fascinated by the behind-the-scenes of the carnie life in the '30s.
Another thread about this book was down on it for having sex scenes which I didn't mind at all. The violence and cruelty - that I minded. I also wondered what other people thought about August. Was he a monster? A sociopath? Mentally ill? If he was mentally ill, does that excuse any of the things he did? Was August worse than the circus owner who ordered people to be thrown off the train?
(For anyone who is interested, Sara Gruen's other books are good too.)

message 19: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane Seems we've really got a good discussion going on this. In response to Amanda, I do think that August was truly mentally ill; in fact, the circus owner (can't remember his name and I returned it to the library already) told Jacob that August had Scitzophrenia (pardon the misspelling) I have to believe that he would not have received treatment for it given the timeframe of the story (how did they diagnose and treat scitzophrenia back then); remember that when Marlena hurt her foot she had to see a doctor when the train arrived at the next city. As for the owner of the circus, I think he was worse than August; he was an evil and selfish man tossing people off the train; this was just part of who he was, not mentally ill at all. He sure got his at the end too, didn't he?

April Speaking of the end, I think that the ending was great. Marlena, Jacob, and Rosie got to stay together and joined a quality circus, what better ending than that for them. Then at the very end, I thought it was great that Jacob got to go off with the circus, in his old age, this was all he really knew, and he was miserable in the nursing home.

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