Water for Elephants Water for Elephants discussion


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Predictable Plot

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Rachel I really enjoyed the setting and descriptions of life on a circus train, but I thought the plot was very predictable. I don't understand why so many people I've talked to LOVED this book. I didn't.


Angela Exactly! Couldn't have said it better myself. There were no surprises in the plot and the ending didn't make sense.


Kelly I agree! I didn't understand all the hype surrounding this book either. The author writes well but the plot was boring.


Elvia Thank you! Ick, is what I think of this book. Oh, and how convenient, a big stampede, and I hated how it all worked out in the end. I thought everything was predictable, plot, characters, etc, and then she killed off my favorite character, the little guy (also predictable). I did like some of the descriptions, too, and the pictures were the coolest part, especially that one of the topless circus star.


Annie Come on--- it may have been predictable, but at least it was interesting. Can any of you say you would have predicted the way August is killed off in the end?


Skylar Burris "Can any of you say you would have predicted the way August is killed off in the end?"

Well...given that we were already told how he was killed off in the first ten pages...But, yes, I thought it was the woman and not the elephant, so that was a twist. Plot wise, though, it was rather predictable, but well paced to hold interest. August was underdeveloped, unfortunatle.



Isabel I agree that the plot is quite predictable, and would even say that the writing was just as predictable. It was one of those books where you can come to the bottom of a page, and predict the next word or end of the sentence before you even turn the page.


Elvia Okay, I give you the elephant as murderer thing since we were set up to believe it was the pathetic Marlena who did it (this made her even more pathetic, tho). I agree it was "well-paced." Well put, Skylar! I mean, some parts of the book I felt endeared to, but mostly it was icky. By the end, the whole ending in motion on the train thing, igh. But I had just read Love in the Time of Cholera, and it reminded me of that, the boat ending.


Monica I'm glad I am not the only one who did not love this book. I have heard so many people say how good it was, but I didn't care for it for many of the same reasons that are posted here.

Also, I don't get the title. Why didn't they bring water for the elephants? Because they drank lemonade on their own? I was waiting for some revelation about the title, and it never came. Or did I miss it?


message 10: by Tina (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:43AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tina I agree, I thought that the significance of the title would be revealed in the book and it never was. Why did the old man get so mad when the other old man said that he used to carry water for elephants? Also, August used this phrase sarcastically when Jacob was meeting with Uncle Al for the first time. I, too, was waiting for a revelation about the meaning of this phrase that never came. Frustrating. Maybe I missed it too?


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

Tony You can't carry water for elephants, nobody can. Depending on the temperature, they drink from 100 to 300 liters/day, or roughly 25 - 75 gallons. But the phrase to carry water for elephants means to carry a heavy burden, like a secret, the only secret you ever kept from your spouse. Now that would be a heavy load, like carrying water for elephants.

As for why Jacob gets mad, the other man was stealing his thunder, sitting at his table, trying to be a big shot to Jacob's ladies. Even at 91 or 93, a man doesn't take that well, especially when it's a lie and you are the man who is in possession of a great story. And yes, I went there. Water for Elephants won't be spoken of as a great piece of literature nor does it deserve to be, but it was a solid, well-structured story that will probably make a great movie, think The Notebook and you probably have an accurate parallel.


Monica Thanks Tony! I have honestly never heard that phrase before. I learned something new today.


message 13: by Berit (new)

Berit I thought Robertson Davies' World of Wonders had a much more interesting depiction of circus life.


Hilary Tony - I liked your interpretation of the title... and I am sharing that with my book club this week! Thanks for posting your thoughts!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

i'm on your circus train! the photos were the best part of the book - the rest predictable!


message 16: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz I agree it was really predictable. And it was all set up; the husband being abusive, justifying Jacob and Marlena's cheating and the elephant murdering him so Jacob and Marlena could get married. I cannot stand things that are too predictable but I really enjoyed the setting and Jacob's reflections as a 90/93 year old. I don't think I have read too many books with the main characterish person being an old man. The whole thing really sparked my interest about the circus.

And the photos were amazing.


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